Sometimes the aches are worse than childbirth.
Cambridge Bay’s Caroline Robinson has suffered through high fever, cold sweats, weakness, bad congestion and she’s been short of breath, making her feel light-headed.
“The pain that I feel is awful,” she said during her eighth day since being diagnosed with Covid-19. “I am finally getting some energy back but it is still hard to breathe, just getting up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, I get puffed out … It’s really hard to put into words. One minute I feel OK, but it’s like a wave or something just hits my body and I feel like I’m going to die.”
It started with a tickle in her throat and a fever. She called the health centre with a request to be tested for the coronavirus. The rapid test came back positive.
Isolating in her home became a necessity, one that left her deprived of life’s usual pleasures, such as being able to see her mother and her kids and give them hugs. She calls that the “biggest struggle” and said she cries while thinking about her three adult children.
“I am scared to leave my house. I don’t want to spread this virus,” she said, adding that she had a list of 12 people that she had been in recent contact with and all of them thankfully tested negative.
She heaps praise on the community’s health-care workers.
“The nursing staff in Cambridge Bay are amazing and I am so thankful for the work and long hours they do. People don’t give them enough credit,” she said. “I have called the (health centre) a few times and have had no problems with reaching a nurse. The nurses have been very supportive and as informative as they can be … I have not felt like I was alone in this and they have done everything they can to help me feel supported and comfortable.”
Robinson, who is double vaccinated and has received her booster shot, has needed some additional advice from the health professionals as she’s in remission from Grave’s Disease, a thyroid condition, after radiation treatments.
“Even before Covid-19 became a pandemic I would get sick so easily,” she said. “I think it would have been worse if I didn’t have the vaccination.”
She also suffers from sleep apnea.
“I have not been sleeping because it’s even harder to breathe,” she said of the complications from Covid. “I was told it can take up to three weeks to recover from this virus. I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long for me.”
She’s been on a regimen of cold medications and Tylenol 3s to combat the symptoms of the virus. She also drinks lots of fluids: water, tea and juice.
“My appetite is gone, I lost my sense of taste for a couple days, it came back but now I can’t smell anything,” she said. “I hope this helps to get people to understand that this virus is real and start taking it seriously.”
By and large, the response from the community has been encouraging, she noted.
“People have been supportive, I have not had any negativity,” she said.
As of Jan. 18, the official count of active Covid-19 cases in Cambridge Bay was 11. However, some residents say that the number is actually higher and the number of households in isolation exceeds that.
It has left numerous people in need of help, and community members have rallied by making and dropping off meals or by picking up groceries on their behalf.
Alan Sim has gone shopping for several people who are staying home and isolating.
“I just do it because I can and maybe next week I might need help,” he said. “Plus, I’ve had help in the past so pay it along.”
The acts of kindness have left an impression. One resident posted an expression of gratitude on Facebook to all of the “heroes who are doing grocery shopping for us in isolation. It means so much.”