Jeanne Els posted her account of being tested positive for coronavirus on social media. Here, Jeanne gives us her permission to pass her message on.
These are Jeanne's words as they were written during her time from being symptomatic to receiving diagnosis and to recovery. We have left them as they were posted on Facebook last week.
Today I tested positive for COVID-19.
The reason why I have decided to share this on social media is to:
1. Inform anyone who I may have been in contact with last week
2. To share my experience of the symptoms
3. To give advice on which steps to take if you face the same fate as me
4. To generally raise awareness regarding the seriousness of the contagion.
If you had any contact with me during the course of last week, I sincerely ask you to stay at home until you are sure that you have not been infected.
If you start to show any symptoms, please inform your doctor by phone that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
This will allow your doctor to send you a prescription for the test and avoid interaction with people.
The symptoms and how it developed:
On Thursday last week I suddenly experienced a light dry cough and a bit of a scratchy feeling in my throat.
On Friday morning my cough was worse and I started having headaches. I contacted my usual GP however she told me that due to the symptoms it is too risky to visit her practice and that I should contact the Inspection Sanitaire. I contacted the Inspection Sanitaire but they said that due to the increase in cases they are no longer doing tests on the population and that I need a prescription from my doctor for a COVID-19 test.
Since my current GP was not willing to see me, I used the Doctena app to reach out to other doctors who were willing to see patients with flu like symptoms. I found a doctor close to my home and by the time I had the appointment on Friday afternoon I had a slight fever, a dry cough, headaches and a bit of pressure on my chest.
The doctor gave me a medical certificate until Tuesday and told me to come back if I did not feel better. At this point it only seemed to be like a normal flu and since I was not aware of being in contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus, there was not enough justification for being tested.
On Saturday the fever kicked in and it varied between hot flushes to shivering cold sweats. I started feeling more and more pressure on my chest and back.
I also had pounding headaches and every time I coughed it felt like my brain shot out through my skull. This continued through Sunday and Monday.
On Tuesday I made another appointment with the doctor. His practice is about 200 meters from my apartment and by the time I arrived I was completely out of breath, feeling faint and extremely exhausted.
He checked my fever which was now much higher and had concerns about my lung capacity and exhaustion. At this point I received a prescription for the COVID-19 test and a medical certificate for the remainder of the week.
On Tuesday evening while lying in bed, my fever shot back up and I couldn’t breathe. The ambulance took me to hospital where I was treated for the fever and blood tests were done.
The doctor informed me that the blood tests indicated an infection in my lungs. Once my fever was under control and my breathing improved I was discharged as there was nothing else they could do.
On Wednesday I went to the Junglinster drive through laboratory where I was tested for the virus.
Since then the symptoms have remained the same: dry cough, a lot of chest pressure, shortness of breath, fever attacks (it comes and goes), exhaustion (it is effort to even walk to the toilet), mild headaches, dizziness and difficulty to concentrate (I barely make it through an episode of Gilmore Girls so writing this took a lot of effort).
As of today, I have daily virtual checkups with my doctor for the next 10 days and remain on bed rest to heal these poor lungs. I will post updates on the symptoms in the coming week in order to best equip you with what to expect.
Important advice on who to contact when you get sick:
One of the biggest frustrations over the last few days was figuring out who on earth can help me because everyone advises self isolation but nobody provides a solution on which step to take next.
Using the Doctena app you can call the doctors directly to ask if they are properly equipped to see a possible COVID-19 patient.
My new doctor has protective screens separating the patients from the reception staff and the doctor is dressed appropriately to protect himself.
They also only have a single patient per waiting area.
Not all doctors have this therefore please do not risk the health of others by going to your doctor without informing them of the reason for your visit.
In order to receive a prescription for the COVID-19 test you need to fall within the preference list.
Due to the high number of people being tested they try to give preference to elderly people, people with pre-existing conditions, people who were directly in contact with someone who has tested positive and people with more severe symptoms. It is not possible to get tested without a prescription!
Luxembourg has implemented various drive through laboratories for COVID-19 testing.
All addresses and opening hours are available on Google and you don’t need to make an appointment. If you are too sick to drive, rather make arrangements for someone to take you (wear a mask and gloves and avoid touching anything in the car).
Alternatively call the Luxembourg hotline to ask for assistance on 8002-80-80.
The results generally take 24 - 48h however due to the number of people having to be informed of their positive status by phone call there is a delay in communication of the results.
Negative results are communicated by SMS. If you did not receive your results within 48h you can call the laboratory directly and they will tell you over the phone.
This virus is spreading and not only the sick and elderly are being affected. I washed my hands, I used hand sanitizer, I did not shake hands or exchange kisses when greeting people, I did not travel, I exchanged parties at bars and clubs for dinner and wine nights with only a few friends at home and still I got sick.
I am a young female in good health with no history of asthma or diabetes and I do not smoke, yet my lungs still took a serious beating.
Do not panic, just start acting responsibly. It sucks to be stuck at home and being in quarantine is difficult but it is not nearly as painful as the feeling of not being able to breathe and wishing that you can do a basic task like taking a shower while standing up.
To my South African friends, two weeks ago we were where you are now. We never thought the number of cases would grow so quickly, yet here we are in a National State of Emergency for 3 months. Hospitals are full, doctors and nurses are overwhelmed, police have stepped in to enforce #socialdistancing and more people are getting sick than the number of people who are recovering.
Learn from Europe and learn from Luxembourg.
The only way to #flattenthecurve is to #stayhome.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you to every single person who has sent a message, called to check in and all the offers to help out in this time while I remain in isolation.
The video calls have been a great help to see some friendly faces. A special thank you to Amanda, Melize and Jarred for the food drops, Laura and Petra for being a main point of contact to both me and my parents and to Sara who spent her birthday driving me to get tested. And most of all my amazing parents Christo En Elizabeth who have been available 24/7 to provide love, medical advice and to talk me through this.
The last week has been physically, mentally and emotionally draining. If you know someone who is going through this, reach out to them and talk to them. Your kindness and care will make all the difference in easing their fears.
Let the road to recovery begin!