I talked with local Mom and Nurse Practitioner, Kristen Sheldon DNP, APRN, FNP-C about her, and her family’s experience with COVID-19.
Kristen shares her family’s story to enlighten our community.

We had very mild cases!  I had what I thought was a 24-hour stomach bug followed by weird asthma symptoms (dry cough, chest tightness) and I never had asthma outside of exercise and cold, but I knew pollen was bad. It was so mild, I continued my normal life! (THIS IS WHY STAYING HOME IS SO IMPORTANT). 3 days later, my daughter caught the stomach bug and had the same chest tightness and cough. I thought that’s weird, but we were just starting spring break- COVID wasn’t here quite yet, or so I thought. We were gearing up at work preparing, but just in case, I told my husband they were quarantined. I knew I would be exposed and didn’t want to risk them giving it to anyone. I had no idea we were already exposed!  A week after I got sick, my husband started with the same symptoms as us- but his fever got higher. Our clinic was testing, so we tested him for strep and flu- both negative. So, we tested him for COVID-19, just to be safe. 3 days later, I received a prelim report he was negative. We rejoiced- I knew it had just been asthma!

The next day, I was at work- and the city had just been given stay at home orders. I received a call from Quest labs reporting my husband was positive…..but the report the day before had said otherwise. Well, come to find out, the first report was flagged as normal, because it wasn’t positive, it was presumptive positive!  He was was one of the first 5 positives on the machine in Dallas, so it had to be taken to the CDC for confirmatory testing and came back positive!!!!  Thank goodness we were staying home anyway!  At that point, we were contacted by the county and grilled. They confirmed that I and my daughter had enough symptoms to be considered positive. I refused testing on my kids- they had the symptoms, live in a house with positives, It wouldn’t change their treatment- I felt it was too traumatic. We were put on court-ordered quarantine indefinitely. If we had to leave for a doctor’s appointment, we were to wear masks (which we didn’t have) and had to get permission from the county before leaving. It was crazy!  Our quarantine ended 4/6!

Our symptoms were so stinking mild, except for my husband who tends to experience sickness harder in our family. There is NO way I would have ever thought it was COVID. Ever. This is why it’s important to stay home. I have had a few patients who tested positive (they were tested bc they live with someone who has COVID) and they had NO symptoms. None!  I could never forgive myself if I was still seeing our parents and they got sick!  One of my close friends has a lung disease that would kill them if they got COVID- what if we had stopped by for a few minutes to say hi!  Gosh. I can’t stomach those thoughts. I know it’s hard to stay home. Trust me- we are in week 4 of quarantine here with ZERO contact. I’m seeing patients from home while homeschooling 2 children. My husband was laid off in July and is still trying to find a job. Things are tough BUT DON’T GO OUT!  Do grocery pick up. I’m not even cool with drive thru right now.

With all that being said, we survived well. I have been extremely anxious because I know too much. I have friends in NYC who are in the thick of people dying. They don’t have proper protection. They’re terrified, and I’m terrified for them. A little tip is, if you can sing your ABCs without being out of breath, you’re good. We have sang that a lot!  Not one of my patients with this has died. Not one has been critically ill. MOST people have mild cases like we did. So mild that I didn’t even know I had it until I was recovering. If you’re staying home and not leaving your house, you won’t get this. Have the delivery people leave it at the door and do a no contact delivery. If you stick with that, you should be good!  I’ve spent a lot of time in my Bible and studying God’s words during plagues and destruction, and I am resting that God is in control. I feel blessed because 10 years ago, I wouldn’t get to FaceTime my mom or let my daughter do Zoom classes. I feel things would be more chaotic. The biggest blessing, outside of getting to be home with my family, was the fact that because we had COVID, my husband was the first plasma donor at Methodist!  His plasma went to a patient fighting for their lives in the ICU from COVID (if anyone wants info on how to do this let me know!  I’ll get them hooked up!). He gets to help save lives. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!  Like so so cool!

My (almost) 3 year old knows there is a virus and everything is closed. That’s about it. My 5.5 year old knows everything she has asked. I sat her down and told her there was a virus called coronavirus that is going around the world. I told her that a lot of people have died because we don’t know how to treat it, but that most people don’t die. We have watched videos on videos about germs, viruses, etc. I found a cool one for kids about coronavirus. I’ll see if I can find it for you. I explained that kids don’t really get sick from this, but that it’s important that we stay home BECAUSE she may not know if she’s sick (this was before). I explained that it could make our grandparents sick and we have to protect them. I did the glitter experiment where you put their hand in glittter and show all the places it goes (super messy BTW). When she got corona, I told her. She was scared, but I tried to empower her. If she could sing her ABCs, she was OK. She had one night where she couldn’t (we were all terrified). Had I not had a pulse ox, I would have taken her in- but she was oxygenating ok, we did deep breathing and tried to keep her calm.
That was it. Now she’s upset she cannot donate plasma too (no kid donors allowed).

We have done a lot of praying, a lot of reading our Bibles, and a lot of loving on one another. We go outside daily and cannot wait to start our walks again tomorrow!

Kristen lives and works in the area with her husband and two young children. She shares their story to educate the community. Stay home and Stay safe.

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