California woman shares experience battling coronavirus through journaling

FRESNO, Calif. -- Tammy Howe says she did everything right, yet still fell victim and became infected with the coronavirus.

"Where I got this, I have no idea," Howe said. "I'm very cautious. I have hand sanitizer in my car. I have 99 percent alcohol at home. I wash my hands."

Howe resides in Irvine, California. She says about three weeks ago is when she noticed the symptoms, starting with a slight cough.

WATCH: California man shares how he fully recovered from COVID-19
Howe started to feel worse. She started journaling her symptoms for her doctors, which included burning sinus pain, losing the ability to smell or taste and fever.

Ultimately, she went to the hospital to get tested for COVID-19.

"I said I don't want to die, I want to stay with my daughter and have her take care of me," Howe said.

Her test came back positive, and she soon posted a video online so others would take the virus seriously.

She is thankful to be alive but says all that really helped her heal was prayer and time.

"It just has to run its course and pray it doesn't become deadly," Howe said.

She wants others to hear the warning.

"Don't go out," Howe said. "You can wear a mask, but you're still bringing the germ home."

Howe is recovering at home and may have to remain isolated at home for up to six weeks.

Below, you can find Howe's journal as she battled COVID-19.

Wed 3/18 (Day 1)
Started a constant little cough, felt like I had swallowed water wrong and needed to keep coughing to get it out of my lungs, mild headache, went to bed.

Thurs. 3/19 (Day 2)
Woke up with sinus headache and burning sinus pain in left nostril, sore throat from dry cough that lasted throughout the night before. Still little dry cough here and there but have energy and feel normal. Thought it was allergies.

Fri. 3/20 (Day 3)
Same symptoms as yesterday. Around 10 p.m. noticed the soreness in my throat moved into my chest. Not painful, just mentholatum feeling. If I take a deep breath in, that makes me cough.

Sat. 3/21 (Day 4, request call from Dr.)
Woke up with sore throat and same sinus pain on left side. Still had energy and felt like allergies, but no appetite. Noticed no sense of smell or taste and that when I ate dinner last night, I thought it was very bland, but realized I had lost my taste until 3 p.m. Skin started to burn and body felt a little achy. No energy. Showered, napped and woke up feeling the same but more achy and stiff. Chills, Skin burning, sinus pain and same chest feeling.

Sun. 3/22 (Day 5)
Uncomfortable sleeping last night as body and muscles are so tender. Body is so tender, like getting a really hard body massage and if someone touches you the next day, it hurts. Sinus pain not as bad, chest the same. But otherwise I'm fine, no fever and I'm not miserable like those who have COVID say it's the worse they've ever felt. Just uncomfortable. Took two Tylenol hoping it takes the edge off. Slept off and on all day, body still sore and weak, no energy.

Monday 3/23 (Day 6, request call from Dr.)
Slept a little better, same symptoms this morning, skin not as sensitive, sinuses still burning in left side, no congestion, just occasional nasal drip, still no taste or smell. Overall just achy and sinus headache/burning. Not sure about appetite as I'm not usually hungry. First thing in the morning.
Dr. Shapiro called, will not allow testing yet as I'm not at risk. Prescribed prednisone for three days for possible sinus infection (I know it's not a sinus infection, but will do what the Dr suggests). (Day 1 of steroid) Suggests call back 5-7 days and if symptoms are still here, then may be able to get test. Stay home for 14 days from day I got symptoms.

Thur. April 2 (Day 6)
Had more energy today, a lot of on and off sweating. More dry cough today than last couple days. A little appetite this evening, but no taste or smell still. Drinking super greens/vitc smoothies the last three days to help build immunity.

Tues. 3/24 (Day 7)
Didn't sleep well, sweats and toss and turn all night. Sinus burning is a little less today. Still no appetite or smell or taste, metal taste on tongue is very strong today. Way more energy. Day two of steroid.

Wed. 3/25 (Day 8)
Didn't sleep well again. Feel the same as yesterday. Sinus burning still the same. Napped and off and on sweating like hot flashes. Day three of steroid. Got a thermometer and took temp at night 98.5.

Thurs. 3/26 (Day 9)
Slept better, 8 a.m. temp 96.6, symptoms still the same, getting blood work at 11 a.m. for covid testing with two-day results, sounds sketch but will try it (lab tech cane to my house) 10 a.m. temp 99.1, took a shower at 9 a.m. and no energy and tickle in chest and coughing ever since. Temp at 10:30 a.m. 99.4, temp at 11 a.m. 99.6, slept, 3 p.m. temp 99.6, body aches, skin burning, headache, lethargic, a bit delirious and very dark and weird dreams, took two Tylenol, took Tylenol at 1:15 a.m., major body aches, chills 100 temp.

Fri. 3/27 (Day 10)
Horrible night sleeping with fever, body aches, headache. Woke to temp at 97, took Tylenol at 9 a.m., still achy, headache, lethargic, delirious, no taste or smell or appetite, slept, temp at 11:20 a.m. 98, called Dr., (see below the process to get to Urgent care) went to urgent care, flu test negative, tested for covid-19 (5-7 day results) prescribed doxycycline and inhaler in case it's an infection and test is negative. Temp 98.2, came home back in bed, no energy, ate some dinner, need to keep fueled for energy! Took Tylenol, temp back up to 99.6, feeling nauseous, stomach very acidic and making a lot of noise, body aching and bad headache, woke up at 2 a.m., dry heaves and diarrhea, temp 98.8.

Sat. 3/28 (Day 11)
Didn't sleep well, back pain, weak, same symptoms. Temp 99.6, 9:30 am. .took Tylenol, used inhaler.

3:30 more Tylenol, temp holding at 98, diarrhea, ice packs and cbd cream on back helping with back pain and overall comfort. Ate some lunch, more diarrhea, drank a iced blended pedialyte, temp 98.1 at 7 p.m., temp at 10:30 p.m. 97.6, temp at 11:15 p.m. 98.8 took two Tylenol, more sleeping.

Sun. 3/29 (Day 12)
Slept better, ice packs helped. Woke up very weak, headache and body aches. Still no senses. Temp 97.7, Tylenol at 9:30 a.m., ice packs on back help with spasms and back aching. Trying to stay hydrated. Chest feels more heavy today and coughing more. Using inhaler. Dr confirmed positive for COVID-19. Keeping hydrated, diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramping. Temp at 7:30 p.m. 99.6, taking Tylenol, 8:45 p.m. temp 100.2, 3:20 a.m. temp 97.9, took two Tylenol, sleeping a lot.

Mon. 3/30 (Day 13)
Woke up at 3 a.m., couldn't sleep, coughing a lot, used inhaler, talked to a friend for 2 hours, grateful for the energy and for her! 5 a.m. Drank my tea, Feel like I've turned a corner, Showered and temp at 7 a.m. 97.8, feeling a little weak, 9:30 a.m. temp 97.2, took 2 Tylenol, rested, craving and dreaming about Mexican food but still no taste or smell. Nurse called and checked on me. Informed breathing was tight, Ate some breakfast, napped. 12:15 pm temp 99.0, coughing and chest feeling much heavier and tight. Frightening feeling as symptoms are not getting better. Used inhaler and drank a small cup of pedialyte slush, Took a long nap.

Health department called, stay quarantined for 3 days after fever, 7 days at home after symptoms occurred. Only go to Hosptial if breathing is compromised. Temp at 4 pm 98.8, chest still very tight. Took 2 Tylenol at 4:20 pm, Trying not to talk as it makes me cough. Still very weak and tired. Ate some lunch. Trying to sit up in living room for a short time to get lungs upright, soooo weak. Napped, woke up sweating, 10 pm took 2 Tylenol and had a Pedialyte slush.

Tues. 3/31 (Day 14)
Temp 97.7 at 5 am, chest still inflamed like asthma feeling, but oxygen level and breathing is fine as long as I rest and don't talk too much, dry cough, used inhaler, drank my morning green tea, helps relieve the chest inflammation/soothing. 6 am temp 97.7, took 2 Tylenol, slight headache, senses still gone, have a little better energy but still weak. 9:30am temp 97.7, still resting. 12:30pm temp 98.3. Napping and will see how temp is when I wake without Tylenol. 1:40pm after nap, temp 97.4 4:30pm temp 99.4 (no Tylenol since 6am), 5:15pm temp 99.1, took 2 Tylenol. Called urgent care left message to see if zpack can be prescribed. Broke fever, sweats, stomach cramps, Ate some dinner, 9:15 pm temp 96.4.

Wed 4/1 (Day 15, 2 weeks since symptoms started)
Woke up at 8 am, slept ok. Temp 97.2, coughing a lot. Same symptoms, used inhaler, drank my warm tea, showered, 11:30 am ate an orange, temp 99.0, slight headache and shaky and a bit weak, but pushing through, can't stay in bed all day! Gotta move these lungs! sanitized house, doing wash, no Tylenol since 5 pm yesterday. Wore out from cleaning a bit. Trying to get temp to regulate on its own. Tylenol is making my stomach cramp and diarrhea?? Only taking if fever goes up to 100.4 or higher. Temp at 1:30 99.0, ate some lunch, temp 2:00pm 100.2, dr called, recommends ER visit for xrays and to check symptoms and maybe prescribe meds.

6 pm, just returned from ER, ran every test in the book! EKG, xrays, blood work, urine sample, vitals, blood pressure up maybe due to fever, oxygen levels a little low, temp 100, a bit dehydrated, IV brought me back to life for a bit. Gave me Tylenol to get fever back down. Dr calls my cell phone to go over results as they are avoiding one on one contact to help prevent the spread. That was weird. Have pneumonia in one lung, prescribed zpack. Found it odd that they give you the prescription and send you physically to the pharmacy to get it filled even tho I'm a carrier! And that the pharmacies might be low on the antibiotic as it's very popular right now. But we called around and were able to get it filled. Hannah went into the pharmacy to get it. I stayed in the car.

Home back in bed, Ate some food to take with first dose of zpack. Drank more pedialyte, Dr recommends due to my stomach sensitivity to take one this evening, 1 in the am and 1 in the pm. Praying it doesn't hurt my stomach too much! 8:30 pm temp rising back up 99.4 so took more Tylenol and going to sleep, praying meds and IV will help turn things around fast!

Thursday 4/2 (Day 16)
Rough night, toss and turned, muscles achy, dreaming vividly. Coughing a lot and very thirsty so up and pacing to get lungs working from 1am-4am. Slept til 8am. Temp 97.9, took zpack pill #2 with morning tea. Ate an orange and boiled egg white. Decided with lots of prayer to make a video post for social media to educate others on the virus through my experience. Not easy but glad I did it! Lots of positive feedback. So surprised so many aren't taking this serious! But my message had been a huge eye opener! Thank you Jesus!! Use me how you will, I'm all yours!!!

Trying to stay hydrated, urinating a lot. No pain from zpack yet thank God12:00pm fever spiking to 99.4 again and headache, took 2 Tylenol, rested, ate 1/2 sandwich and small bag of chips and pedialyte slushy. Napped, woke up with same headache, temp at 5:30 98.6, took 3rd zpack pill. Drinking lots of water. Temp at 6:45, 99.0, trying to take Tylenol every 7-8 hours so to not take more then 6 in 24 hours per ER nurse. 8 pm, temp 99.4, ate an orange, taking 2 Tylenol, 8:30 pm feeling very hot and achy, temp 100.2, ice packs for aches and fever, so weak and sleeping a lot.

Fri. 4/3 (Day 17)
Awake from 2:30 am-4 pm coughing, thirsty, no fever, ask to sleep at 4am til 8 am, temp 97.9, morning tea, muscles sore, still weak, 8:45 temp 98.3, ice pack on back. Showered, very weak, temp 98.6, back to bed and sleep.
Rested, ate 1/2 baked potato, body getting hot and achy, temp 99.2 at 1:00, Took 2 Tylenol. Napped, stomach cramping a lot, got up and moved around, still coughing and weak, ate some dinner, 7:20 pm temp 99.0, back to bed, drank some hot lemon water, feeling sweaty ice pack on back. 10 pm temp 97.7, stomach cramping, mild headache, still coughing. Diarrhea and stomach cramping all night. May be from lemon water too much alkalinity for my stomach. At least I tried it. Trying to avoid Tylenol to see if temp will regulate.

Sat. 4/4 (Day 18)
7:25 am 98.1 temp, stomach cramping, probably from lemon water, diarrhea, coughing when upright, took zpack at 9:30 am, still feeling ok, no need for Tylenol yet. Top of nose itching and eyes itchy, especially left eye and top of nose on the left. Ate some toast and boiled egg. Feeling tired after sitting up for a couple hours. 12:00 napped. Woke up with red hot face, hands and feet freezing! Temp at 3:30 98.8, still not taking Tylenol!! ate an orange, sitting up right as much as possible, ate some lunch, drank some pedialyte slush, watching tv for the first time in weeks, still coughing when talking. If sitting calmly and not talking not to much coughing. Ate some dinner, very tired and weak, 9:20 temp 98.4, going to bed, woke up at 3am, temp 96.0, achy, Read a bit, ice packs for sore back and fell back to sleep.

Sun. 4/5 (Day 19)
Woke up at 8 am, feeling better!! Drinking tea, temp 98.7, no Tylenol since Fri at 1:00 trying not to talk as triggers coughing. Still can't smell or taste. Back spasms, ice packing. Took last zpack pill at 10:30 am and used inhaler. Feet and hands cold, put slippers on and more blankets. Ate some breakfast, fresh orange, neighbor made some fresh juice for us. Still can't taste or smell!! Temp 98.5 at 1:00pmwatched church online all morning. Worship and the messages so good for my soul and spirit :pray::skin-tone-3:, cough attack if talking or walking or go upstairs. Ate some lunch, resting, temp 98.8 @3pm , rested and tried not to talk so less coughing, eyes and nose still itching, ice packed swollen itchy eyes, ate dinner, 11:30pm temp 97.7, back to bed.

Mon 4/6 (Day 20)
Temp 97.2 at 7:45 am, drinking tea, itching eyes and nose, no appetite, no taste or smell, 11:00 ate an orange, drank some fresh squeezed veg/fruit juice from neighbor. Resting, tried FaceTiming family, makes me cough. I more talking, let lungs rest! Rest and watch tv. Ate some lunch, more rest, less coughing if I stay lying down, neighbor brought veggie soup for dinner. Can't taste best very satisfying and warm and soothing. Temp at 9:15 pm 98.0, going to bed.

Tues 4/7 (Day 21)
Temp 97.4 at 7:45 am, drinking warm tea, still no taste or smell. Mild headache, cough seems a bit less. No talking is best. Teleconference with primary care Dr at 10 am, prescribed steroid inhaler for lungs, singular for allergies, rest, call office if symptoms get worse (fever/cough), stay home until 100% better and no symptoms. Wear mask, if have to go in public. Could take 2-6 more weeks Of taste and smell do not return will send me to ENT., ate some breakfast, nose and eye itching a lot, 11:30 temp 98.1, resting.

Process to get tested
I make another request for Dr to call, immediately suggests testing for virus with symptoms. But since it was a phone appt Dr could not recommend testing, suggested calling Urgent Care. Urgent care wouldn't see me, suggested calling a hotline (can't remember who it was) they suggested going to ER. ER won't take you without a Dr referral. Called Urgent care again, suggested going to Hosptial fever tent. At this point I was giving up. Hannah my daughter insisted I get in the car and go to the fever tent. I went kicking but glad I did! Fever tent requires Dr referral. I have no primary doctor!!! By the grace of God the fever tent took me (I'm sure I looked like death) Evaluated me and said since I have no primary Dr I had to first go to Urgent Care to be evaluated by a Dr. Very frustrated!!! ER called Urgent care to take me. Urgent care tested for all flu and came back negative so tested for covid 19 since I had all the symptoms and no flu. Prescribed doxycycline incase covid came back negative (could take up to 7 days for results) and possible infection, and inhaler. Never got to the doxycycline as I was too sick the next few day's with fever and body aches and delirium, Inhaler helped a little. Symptoms worsened and now add stomach cramping and loud digestive gurgling, diarrhea and dry heaves. Don't remember too much those days. 2 days after covid 19 test

(Sun, Mar 29) Dr called with positive results. Suggests rest and Tylenol and inhaler unless breathing worsen. 2 days later no improvement, fever and cough getting worse, so reached out to Urgent Care Dr and after 2 weeks of symptoms and not improving urgent care Dr sent me to ER for further tests

(April 1) ER At Mission Hospital: walking into the ER alone with my daughter sitting in the car worried about me, both of us wondering if I might not leave and this may be it for me. Such a scary feeling yet I prayed for Gods will to be done and I was at peace whichever way this goes. They ran many tests , xrays, ekg, blood work, urine test, vitals, along with an IV which helped a lot with my energy level for a short time. Blood pressure very high and dehydrated. temp up, oxygen low, ER Dr diagnosed with pneumonia in one lung and prescribed zpack and Tylenol for fever. Oxygen level Ed at 98%, sent home to continue battling the symptoms with rest, antibiotics, hydration, Tylenol for fever and only to return if breathing gets worse. Fever and body aches continued a couple more days, very up and down. Some days you think you are improving and then you take 10 steps back.
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