Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Quarantined in South Carolina

Unless you've been living under a rock the last two weeks, we're sure you've heard of COVID-19 (newest Corona virus) that is becoming a worldwide pandemic. Not many people in the US were too worried about the virus. In fact, Mom Paula traveled out of town two weeks ago to attend the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament where she was around thousands of people for 4 days straight watching basketball. Things quickly changed about a week after she got back home. 

We are now on a required self-quarantine at home.

This post isn't about COVID-19. There are many scientific and medical websites where you can get factual information about prevention, symptoms, and treatment. This post is about the beginnings our personal experience with a required self-quarantine because of a suspected case of COVID-19. We're going to turn our post over to Mom Paula so she can tell the complete up-to-date story.

Two Months of Illness

Many of you may remember I got sick at the end of January and the doctor though I had the flu. By the time I could get to the doctor, I'd already had a high fever, coughing, wheezing, chills, and aches for 4 days and it was too late to be treated with the proper medication for the flu. I was put on two rounds of antibiotics, received an injection in my backside, and took a prescription cough syrup every night. Finally, after about 3 weeks, I began to feel a little better. There were times I still needed the cough syrup to sleep at night, but I felt good enough to go to the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament in Greenville, SC with a friend where we watched over 26 hours of basketball over a 4-day period. Let me tell you - Women's basketball in the SEC is huge, so there were thousands of fans there each day. Since my friend has an autoimmune blood disease and I'd recently been sick, I made sure I washed my hands and used hand sanitizer when available. We even wiped down the furniture, tables, and handles in the hotel room. 

The temperature had turned cold and rainy when we arrived in Greenville (about 96 miles from my home) and the inside of the arena was freezing! We even took blankets inside to try to stay warm. Other than a sore back and knees from sitting in hard chairs so much, I felt great!

Brulee and Truffle resting closely beside each other on my lap

Suspicions of COVID-19

I got back home on March 8 and was exhausted. My knees were killing me, so I went back on my prescription anti-inflammatory medication in order to be able to walk and sleep at night. My knees continually got worse during the week and about the time I was going to call my orthopedic surgeon, I began coughing again midweek. I attributed it to allergies, because the weather had turned warm again and pollen is everywhere. I began getting allergy injections at the end of December and the ENT nurses told me the pollen was terrible this season because of the warmer and wetter Winter we've had. I thought the sinus drainage and coughing was because of the pollen. I began feeling tired and was sleeping more and more during the day. My knees were still killing me, but I developed a low-grade fever Friday night. All I could do was rest all day because the coughing got worse and I started having chills, coughing worse, wheezing when breathing, and my fever began to creep up.

By Sunday, my fever was up to almost 102 and I could hear a gurgling and wheezing when I was breathing. I knew something was wrong and I began to fear the worse. I'd been listening to all of the group of people, especially senior adults, who were in danger of contracting the virus. It finally hit me when I realized I fell in the the category of individuals who were in danger. I'm over 60, have asthma, am treated for high blood pressure, and have an autoimmune disease (Celiac). My immune system was already compromised because I'd been so sick in January and February.

I'd already stayed away from everyone since Friday night. Thankfully, I'd already ordered some grocery supplies that Wednesday through an online delivery service and had some basic needed supplies. 

In line at an Urgent Care to be Tested for COVID-19

I woke up Monday morning, took my temperature (about 99.8 degrees), and called my doctor. I was quite surprised when they told me they could see me within 1 hour 45 minutes. I was asked to put on a mask and use hand sanitizer as soon as I arrived at the office. I already had a mask from a major asthma attack I suffered last Spring. When I arrived at the doctor's office, everyone in the office was wearing a mask. It was a little "freaky."

During the examination, the nurse checked my blood pressure and it was elevated. I was coughing terribly and the wheezing and gurgling was audible. She checked my oxygen level and it was about 94%. The nurse told me she was going to test me for the flu. The doctor came into the room and checked my vitals from the nurse. She also checked my pulse and listened to my lungs. She said I tested negative for the flu, but she wanted to do a chest x-ray. The results of the chest x-ray was about the same as it was in February and she listened to my lungs again and she said she didn't like the sound of my wheezing and gurgling. She asked if I'd been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 and I told her that I didn't know unless I was around someone when I was at the basketball tournament. She told me she wanted me to get tested for the COVID-19 and put me on steroids for the coughing and breathing and sent a request to the Urgent Care to have me tested. She recommended that I self-quarantine for at least two weeks until we knew the results.

I went home and was called later by the Urgent Care nurse to set up an appointment. I was told to arrive at 5:00 pm and that it would be a drive-through test. There were three cars in front of me and several behind me. I knew this was something serious when the nurse doing the testing had on a special N95 mask and a face shield over the rest of her face. She had on a gown and I saw her putting on three layers of gloves before she did the test. She warned me that the test would be more uncomfortable than the flu test. She was right. She had to go way to the back of the nostrils and then some more. At first, it tickled, then it burned, then it hurt. She told me I should have the results by the end of the week, but I should self-quarantine and let anyone know that I'd been around to watch out for themselves and to self-quarantine too. She said I should call the emergency hospital if my symptoms (especially my breathing) became worse.

Truffle inspecting the required supplies

Self-Quarantine with Cats

Thankfully, I'd already purchased basic grocery supplies last week before the mass rush for hoarding of supplies began. I already had tissues, toilet tissue, and hand sanitizer and Clorox cleaning supplies at home. When I went to get my prescriptions, they'd just gotten in some cases of toilet tissue and paper towels, so I bought a couple of rolls. I had plenty of cat food, but decided to order a couple more cases to be safe. It's taking about 5-7 days longer for delivery now, but I already had 2 cases of wet food at home, along with a bag of Truffle's prescription diet dry kibble and a couple of boxes of litter. Since I didn't know how long I would need to stay indoors, away from everyone, I did set up an order for additional food and litter next week (after I get paid).

Truffle resting beside me so I couldn't get out of bed

I've already written several posts about how our cats can sense our needs and they how they provide comfort where they can. Truffle and Brulee aren't snugglers, but this past weekend, they rested close to each other while they snuggled up to me. The girls have been extra attentive this time. Truffle continues to amaze me with her 6th sense when I'm experiencing health issues. Last week, she began climbing onto my lap and rather than settling down for a nap, she crawled up my chest and looked me straight in the eyes. She'd already eaten, so she must have heard my difficulties with breathing. Both Truffle and Brulee are sleeping near me when I go to bed. Once the heavy coughing began, Truffle stayed a little further away from me. I don't think she likes the sound of my coughing.

I began hearing rumors about the possibility of the girls getting sick and I began to get more worried. The same day I was tested, I received an email from Steve Dale from Steve Dale's Pet World with information about COVID-19 and Cats. Steve shared a podcast from a conversation with Dr. Gail Golab, Chief Veterinary Officer, Scientific Affairs and Public Policy at the American Veterinary Medical Association that explained what we do know and what we still may not be sure of regarding COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). According to Steve Dale:
"IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.  announced that the company has tested thousands of dogs and cats for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), and thus-far not a single positive test. These new test results align with the current expert understanding that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person, and is now considered a human corona virus.
Still, Dr. Golab says use common sense regarding interactions with dogs and cats.  It makes sense to wash hands after handling any animal. If you are a positive for COVID-19, it probably makes sense to have someone else in the home care for the animal (if possible).
Dr. Golab agrees with that in this time of great stress, hearing cats purr in our ears and taking walks with our dogs can be helpful.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has stayed on top on this fluid situation, and is arguably the most reliable resource. The AVMA and CDC do communicate with another. So many blogs and social media may be spreading misinformation – Dr. Golab and the AVMA are arguably the most trusted in this time of confusion and fear."

Basepaws is hosting a free live webinar today (Wednesday, March 18) at 11:00 am PST titled Cats & Coffee: COVID-19 Discussion. All you need to do is go to the facebook page and click on register and it will take you to Eventbrite. There is no cost, but you will need to register. Basepaws said this about the live webinar:
"During this self-isolation period, we encourage you to join our live webinar tomorrow (3/18) at 11 am PST, for an insightful conversation and Q&A session with Chris Menges, DVM, MPH and Feline Health Coach, Beckie Mosser, RVT! They will be unlocking everything you need to know so far about the #coronavirus along with how this virus will impact your furry furriends!"

Truffle and Brulee watching me take medication and my temperature everyday

I also received an email from our veterinary hospital about things they are doing during the quarantine period in our area to keep both the humans and pets healthy. They shared this information from the CDC about the COVID-19 virus and pets:
"There is currently no evidence that animals, including pets, can be infected with the coronavirus, and no evidence that animals can even spread the virus. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants pet owners to be prepared as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in people continue to rise. While this may be a worst-case scenario, understand that if pet owners are ever asked to self-quarantine or become ill due to the coronavirus, the CDC recommends:

    • Maintain separation and avoid direct contact with pets and other animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food
    • Try to make alternative arrangements for someone to look after pets in case you become ill
    • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask
    • Additionally, pet owners should always have a “Pet Preparedness Plan” in case of emergencies or quarantine:
      • Make sure you have enough food and product to care for pets’ needs.
      • Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if you or someone in your house becomes ill
      • Have crates, food and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets
      • Keep all animal vaccines up to date in the event boarding becomes necessary
      • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions. Including the prescription from your veterinarian is also helpful
      • Have an identification collar for your pet with ID tag and microchip
      • Service animals should be permitted to remain with their handlers.
PLEASE NOTE: The coronavirus vaccine for dogs is distinctly different from COVID-19, and animals do not need to wear a face mask to be protected from COVID-19. Please reach out to us with questions and concerns. We are committed to serving our patients and clients as we have for over forty years. We are undoubtedly in new territory, and we are committed to figuring this out together."

I want to keep my cats healthy, but I must admit that it will be hard to follow all of the recommendations. I live by myself and I am the only one who can care for my cats when I'm at home, especially now that I'm self-quarantined. I can't do without petting and snuggling the girls each day for both of our well-being. I'm trying to avoid them getting close to my face and I make sure I turn away from them when I'm coughing. I haven't worn a face mask around them, because they are everywhere with me. If I test positive for the virus, I will call my vet to see what I need to do. Both of their Sleepypod Mobile Pet Beds are out in the open in case there is a need for a quick movement. I do need to pack an emergency supply of food, Eye Envy, treats and other pertinent items in their Sleepypod Go Bag in case I need to take them somewhere. My girls aren't microchipped (that's another long story) and they don't wear collars. If I need to go to the hospital, I'll call the pet sitter to come check on the girls. She is very reliable and the cats adore her. I hope I don't need to be away or even need to board the girls because that won't be healthy for them. We need each other during these difficult times.

Brulee climbing onto my lap to comfort me

I've been self-quarantined for 4 days now and I'm going crazy. I'm at home a lot since I'm retired, but I know I have the ability to get out and do things such as going to a movie, a sporting event, or eating out. I can't even visit with my parents now. They've brought me some supplies and rang my doorbell and left them on the front porch. I can't afford for them to catch anything from me because both are in their 80s and have health issues.  I guess now it's just wait-and-see until I get the results of my test. Unfortunately, the governor has called a state-of-emergency and almost everything is closing anyway, so I guess I'll catch up on recorded programs, binge-watch Game of Thrones (since I never saw it), catch up on some research for writing future blog posts, and enjoy special time with my girls.

Brulee surprised me this morning by climbing onto my lap when I woke up and put her paws on my stomach and looked into my eyes. It was just what I needed. There is definitely a connection between humans and their cats!

Stay tuned for further adventures and struggles during our self-quarantine...

Would you like to comment?

  1. Ever since I read your post on Facebook about getting tested, I've been thinking about you and your parents. Last year around this time, I had a similar episode as to what you're describing - with two visits to an urgent care for each of the two episodes - about a month apart. I hardly EVER wheeze and that was really scary for me - I'm usually pretty low key about getting sick - but the last episode especially really freaked me out. Obviously, it wasn't COVID-19. Regardless, I hope you feel better soon. I wish I lived closer so I could help. Even if it's NOT COVID-19, whatever illness you DO have could make you more prone to catching it. I do know you are in the very best paws.

  2. I send my best wishes for your recovery. Whether it is Covid 19 or not, it is a very worrying time for all and I know you must be feeling extremely worried. My thoughts are with you.

  3. We are purring that you don't test positive for COVID-19 and hope you are feeling better soon.

  4. Take care of yourself Paula, we'll all be thinking of you and your sweet girls and we'll be sending healing purrs and prayers your way.

  5. When I left the office Friday afternoon, I was on a one-week vacation! Then, the office sent an email on Saturday, saying the offices were closed to all who could work from home for the foreseeable future. So, I rescinded my vacation (except for Friday, my birthday), and have been conference calling and doing my work at the table, with cats nosing into all of my business. It's a huge change, but we are learning to embrace it.
    Hope you start to feel better soon, and hope your test is negative for that dreaded stuff.

  6. Praying you are better soon. XO

  7. so sorry to hear all of this, prayers you will be fine soon. let us know as soon as you get your results. thanks for the updates on pets, we all need to know that info also...prayers for a quick recovery.

  8. You saw the end of Game of Thrones! I was there...Gemini... Be well! Ichiro sends headbumpies.

    1. Yep! But I haven't seen anything else. I need to go back and see what all of the fuss was about

  9. Thanks for sharing that linky to the webinar. Mom and I plan to watch it today! Mom is in the high risk "cat-egory", too, 'cause she has a lung disease and diabetes, so she is trying to stay home as much as possible right now to lessen chance of getting infected. Dad is working from home now, too, which makes me purr lots! Crossing my paws that you get better quickly Miss Paula. Luvs.

  10. Sending purrs and prayers your way. Please keep us updated and know that we are all keeping you in our prayers.

  11. WE send you lots of positive juju and purrs for you to be OK!!!
    Purrs,Georgia and Julie

  12. I'm sending healing purrs to you - I hope all the meds and rest help you recover without needing any more treatment!

    Just wondering - how is the friend you traveled with for the tournament? If she is not sick, she could be a carrier and maybe should get tested.

    1. So far, she is fine. She said she feels great and has no symptoms. We both realize there is a two-week time period before one could become sick from exposure

  13. We're sending our best wished and healing purrs for you. Our paws are crossed that you heal quickly and everything is OK. These are crazy times and our mom is starting to lose it here in NYC!

  14. We purring and praying for you.

    The Florida Furkids

  15. Hoping and praying for a quick and easy recovery for you. *virtual hugs*

  16. Sending purrs of healing I hope it isn’t the COVID

  17. We're purring and praying that you test negative for COVID-19, Paula. And that whatever's ailing you is all gone real soon.

  18. o gosh! I sure feel for you. I have underlying asthma myself and had a scary bout in Oct-Nov that took heavy artillery (steroids, heavy antibiotic) to finally cure. Very scary. In fact I left my PT job at a Senior home due to the high risk. I'm really hoping you are better soon. Didn't hear whether you got the test results? Seems like it takes ages. Sending purrs and prayers for your recovery.

  19. Praying you get better soon and just a suggestion, on Nextdoor.com in our area people are posting to help those that cannot go out to get necessities etc and you should check on your side if they doing the same plus its a great way to get to know others. I am also over 60 and alone with Layla so am concerned.

  20. Wishing you are speedy recovery! Hopefully you get your test results soon, if you haven't already, so you at least know what you're dealing with. All this COVID-19 stuff is making life...interesting to say the least. We had to venture out this morning to go grocery shopping and seeing the store shelves almost empty, on top of all the people wearing masks and gloves, is kind of a surreal experience. Well wishes for a very speedy recovery, no matter what it is making you sick!

  21. What an incredibly scary time for you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Purrs that your test comes back negative and life gets back to normal as soon as possible.

  22. Oh no I am so sorry to read that this horrid virus jumped on you.
    Take care and get lots of rest.
    Hugs cecilia

  23. Nice Post, I enjoyed your picture of the cleaning supplies with your cat. I was very sick with the Flu in February as well. That is nice that they had a drive through testing option for you. I am not sure if they have any here yet or not. I didn't know that they test hurt, that kind of stinks, but good to know ahead of time to be prepared.
    Thanks for sharing the information from the CDC about the COVID-19 virus and pets.
    I think it is scary that the dog in hong kong that had a form of the Cornoa, died.
    (from Ava Jaine, Dachshund Station)

  24. Hope you get better, Paula!! Purraying for you. xoxo

  25. New Zealand does not, so far, have the severe outbreaks seen in Europe and Italy in particular for which we are grateful. There is some silly panic buying but as NZ grows a lot of its own food it's not so bad. I know there are steps in place to keep citizens safe and you are doing everything right. Sensible precautions and sensible buying is the way to go and yes, we have been ordering online too. No it isn't expensive compared to remaining safe at home. The one thing that annoys me is the overreaction of ignorant pet owners who think their pets give them the virus (yeas really!).

    Your nurse was correct to use a proper mask when testing. The simple face masks stop you spreading germs but don't stop you getting anything! It's great the staff are staying safe and taking precautions to keep everyone safe as well. They will save lives.

    I hope you keep well Paula. This is not fun for anyone but, I am guessing you feel blessed to have some sweet company at home. Get Well soon!

  26. What a very scary time for you. We all hope the very best for you in your recovery.

  27. I've been worried about you, and I'm glad to know that you have the supplies you need for you as well as your girls. They are so sweet and probably help you deal with all the stress. I hope you feel better soon!

  28. Best healing wishes for you and the safety of your household. The situation is quite bad everywhere with some places having a full blown tragedy. We will all make it through this.


By leaving a comment you are consenting to your email being collected for communication purposes only.

Thank you for visiting us today!