Terry Cohn describes her experience traveling to Portugal and Spain in late winter 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ramp up in Europe. Terry talks about the logistics of traveling during the travel ban that went into effect in March. Terry began to have symptoms, including a cough and a fever, that turned out to be COVID-19. Terry discusses the process of interacting with the public health department immediately following her positive test, and how contact tracing worked in Madison. Terry talks about the symptoms of the disease, which varied between her and her husband, who also tested positive for COVID-19, and how this experience has affected her view of public health and the need for social distancing and face coverings. Addendum: As I listened to my interview, I realized that I left out two important events that occurred during my illness with COVID19. As part of my healing, I tried to avoid focusing on the frightening parts of this illness, but some events replayed themselves. On my second visit to the ER, my encounter with the doctor left me traumatized for weeks. I was hooked up to 3 IV needles when the resident came in to discharge me. He was covered with a shield and mask and all I could see were his empathetic eyes. He gently rubbed my arm and said
- "You know age is against you."
- "I'm glad we didn't have to use a particular cardiac medicine on you, because it is really scary. It stops your heart and then your heart has to be started again."
- His parting words "I really hope you make it".
He said this three times. These words echoed through my head for weeks as I lay in bed, when I took a shower, and in my dreams. I was not able to tell those words to my husband, daughters, or sisters until I realized that I was getting better. In addition, there was a whole other scene going on at the same time on the other side of the curtain that I was told about after I recovered. My husband, daughters, sisters, family, and the close friends, who checked in daily, were all terrified. I did not realize the fear they were dealing with. I recently learned more about the tears they shed when I was too weak to talk to them, when I was sent to the ER, and when they heard extreme weakness in my voice. While I want to project my gratitude to the Madison Community and to those that provided me with positive thoughts, I must reiterate, this virus is frightening. As we learn more every day, we are finding that we really don't know who will live and who will die, what age it will strike, whether one can develop immunity, and whether it will come back with a greater magnitude.