A Comox Valley woman is speaking about her experience of having COVID-19 in hopes of motivating others to get vaccinated if they are having doubts about it.
“Here I am at 50 years old and I lived a nightmare. It was horrific,” said the woman who has asked not to be identified.
She says her adult son was exposed in mid-February and quarantined at her home. She said despite their best efforts, both of them became infected with the virus.
“By Sunday he was showing symptoms and by Monday afternoon it just hit me like a brick wall,” she said.
That was Feb. 21 and what started with normal flu-like symptoms became two weeks of unrelenting pain and discomfort.
“Nausea set in and the vomiting and diarrhea and pain so severe in my head right through my eyes that I couldn’t be without a wet facecloth on my eyes,” she remembered.
She says she had difficulty breathing and while she was never hospitalized, she went to the hospital three times, once because of severe dehydration.
Her message to others now is, take public health warnings seriously and get the vaccine when it’s available to you.
“That’s why I’m here sending this message,” she said. “If I can reach one person or a hundred people or anybody to change their mind and get their vaccine I will.”
Health officials say fortunately the vast majority of people do want the vaccine.
“There are some who are a bit more hesitant and I think hearing stories from people who have had COVID particularly from those who have had severe disease makes it a lot more real for people,” said Dr. Mike Benusic, medical health officer and physician lead of mass vaccination planning.
Currently, 12 per cent of adults in Island Health have been vaccinated meaning it will be a while before people can let their guard down completely.
“It’s not going to be an abrupt change where we’ve gone from a COVID world to a post-COVID world. It’s going to be a gradual continued removal of some of those restrictions as those vaccination rates come up and that’s what we’re going to see over the next couple of months,” added Dr. Benusic.
Fortunately, the woman says her son’s experience was far less painful than hers and they’ve both now recovered.
She chronicled her COVID-19 experience and is sharing it in hopes of urging others to get the vaccine. It can be found here.