There’s no telling who will get COVID or when, so stop pointing fingers, be kind, and get tested if you’re not feeling well.
That is the take-home message Wanda Shipman wants people to be aware of. Raised in Huntsville, Shipman is now living in Calgary and recently took to social media to tell people she had tested positive for the virus on February 16, 2021.
“I was totally feeling fine on the 15th, I have an online show that I do, I did my show, went to bed at 10:30 p.m., woke at around 5 a.m. with a very powerful cough. My body was aching and my head felt as if it was in a vice grip and it was being turned tighter and tighter. I got up, as I coughed for about two hours, trying to catch my breath, I went into the bathroom and had a hot steamy shower, this opened up my lungs and I was able to go back to bed,” she recalled.
She slept for another hour but then the coughing began again. Shipman, who lives alone, became extremely concerned and decided to call the hospital. She was told to get tested and managed to get an appointment that same day at 10:30 a.m. They took swabs of both her nose and throat and a couple of hours later she received a text telling her the tests had come back positive for COVID.
She was overwhelmed, started to sob, and immediately called her brother Scott in Huntsville.
“He kept me calm, we talked until I felt better. When I say I was overwhelmed, your first thoughts are ‘Oh my god, who have I been near’ and you also have feelings of dread. It is absolutely horrible. I immediately called anyone that I could think of that I had been near. I also contacted my doctor. Within an hour of receiving the text, AHS [Alberta Health Services] contacted me, with instructions on how to care for myself, the amount of days I would have to be in isolation, they tracked 14 days prior. Contagious-wise they said 48 hours prior,” she said. “Anyone that had been in a close proximity of me have been tested and all have been negative.”
She has no idea how she contracted the virus. She said the Sunday prior had been a busy day for her. She’d been at work and got some shopping done at Walmart, Sobeys, Dollarama, and Micheals. She stopped for a coffee at Tim Hortons and also got gas.
“From what I understand, I could have gotten gas, got into my car and possibly rubbed my eye. It is a mystery and there is no real way that they can actually track it, when you have been to so many places. I am diligent on wearing my mask, but I have learned from this that I will from now on even wear gloves. I will have enough that for every place I go, I will have a new set to wear,” she said. For all she knows, she said it could have been a can of soup she picked up. “I sanitize every time I get in my car. My brother Scott made a good point, he carries his sanitizer in his pocket and uses it before opening his car door, I will now do the same. There are so many things to think about.”
[Ed. – Note that public health officials do not recommend use of gloves, as the virus can still be present on gloves. Instead, they recommend that you avoid touching your face, and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, using hand sanitizer when a sink and soap are not readily available.]
The hardest part, other than not knowing how sick you might get, is the isolation.
“One of the hardest things with the isolation, is when someone close to you drops something off at your doorstep, then calls you from the driveway to say they have put it there, you open your door to see them, but you know you cannot get close to them. This has brought me to tears quite a few times.”
Still she counts her blessings that her symptoms have been mild and wonders whether she’s developed some form of immunity. “I asked the health nurse about this, as I was really sick a year ago January, and I swear I had the virus then. I was told that it is a possibility and that may be why I have mild symptoms.”
She said her symptoms have been manageable for the most part. “Nights are the hardest, when laying down the coughing starts. So lots of pillows and lots of steamy showers. I have a humidifier in my room as well.”
If you know of someone who has contracted the virus be kind because you don’t know if you might be next, said Shipman.
“One thing that people should know is that, if you know someone who has contracted this virus, please be compassionate. I have dealt with a few that were not so, and it is very disheartening. It is bad enough you are sick, and from one day to the next, you have no idea how you are going to feel, and then there is the isolation away from people you love, it breaks your spirit. My first three days I was very sad and depressed, but it was my friends and family, sending me messages and leaving gifts on my doorstep that kept me together,” she said. “I have one neighbour that leaves a small gift every day at around 4 p.m. She informed me that if that gift is still there the next day, she will be kicking in the door. (calling out for help of course). So my message to everyone is, none of us are immune to this virus, so do your due diligence and protect yourself and people around you. Reach out to those that have contracted it. Send them messages, phone calls, gifts, reach out. None of us are safe from this and remember it’s not your fault, this is something that none of us have control of, all we can do is our best to protect ourselves and others. Yes, wear your masks and my suggestion is to also wear the gloves and keep that sanitizer in your pocket, use it often.”
It’s now been over a week since Shipman was diagnosed and said she’s definitely feeling more like herself. “Hopefully it stays this way.”
She said she was told she will be able to resume her life on February 27. “I asked if I need to go get tested again and was informed that the virus stays in your body for at least three months so you would test positive again. So praying that the isolation worked.”
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