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It was a Monday, a few days after she and her fiancé came back to Baltimore after celebrating their recent engagement in New York.

“I probably got it through that trip,” she says. “I went with family and friends and no one, like people were still calling it a hoax. My fiancé and I were using hand sanitizer any chance we could, but no one knew. I never would have gone if I knew how bad it was.”

Cara stayed home that Monday through Thursday.

Doctors initially told her that she had the flu.

“They were saying manage it at home,” she says. “I was told Baltimore News it was the flu, so I was convincing myself it was the flu. I think that’s why it took me longer than it did to actually go (to the hospital) because even the doctors in the beginning of the whole thing were not telling me to go. They were saying manage it at home if you’re not short of breath, which I didn’t really know what short of breath meant."

Thursday morning, her fiancé took her to her parents house. On Sunday, the 15th, when she still wasn’t feeling better she went to the hospital and was tested for coronavirus.

“They tested me and then they sent me home. They said you have some pockets of fluid on your lungs that look like pneumonia. Here’s an inhaler prescription.”

She says the next night it became too painful.



“My fever shot to a 103. I was vomiting. I knew that I was not okay. I went, I called the doctor on the 16th. They sent me to the ER and that’s when it all started kicking in.”

BEING ADMITTED

“When I got to the nurse’s desk to be screened, they said have you traveled within the tristate area in the last two weeks? I said ‘Yes. I was in New York.’ Their eyes definitely widened and they wrote things down quickly and took me back.” Cara remembers Press Release Distribution Services In Baltimore putting on a mask. Her mom was given one too. She filled out papers. Then she was separated from her mom.

“That was really hard for me. I’m 26, but when I’m sick I’m still like a baby. So I wanted my mom with me, but I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to get better.”

Cara was placed in a room by herself.

“They put PUI on my door. They taped it and I read it through my window backwards and I was like what is going on,” she says. “No one was telling me what that meant. I was goggling it. I was crying. I was FaceTiming with my parents.”

She remembers feeling overwhelmed. She also didn’t realize how sick she was until she was hooked up to oxygen.

“The doctor came in and was like 'you have severe bilateral pneumonia. We think your symptoms are very consistent with COVID-19, but we probably won’t have your results until Friday.’"

THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL TOLL

The fever, Cara says, was the worst of her symptoms because it lasted the longest.

“The aches, the pains and the chills were unreal. I would wake up dripping sweat. I would sit down to watch TV in the hospital and I was dripping sweat. There was nothing I could do to fix it. I felt like I’d jumped into a swimming pool.”

She says the coughing was constant too.

"The entire time I was in the hospital, until Thursday or Friday was horrible. I would talk to people on FaceTime and talk to my doctors and I had a tight pain in my chest with a lot of mucous that just wouldn’t clear. It was a lot of pain. That was what was really frustrating for me."

The physical toll on her body was bad, but she also felt isolated and alone.

“I remember asking ‘am I going to be here for a night or 14 days?’ And they said we don’t know. It all depends on your lung function."

FaceTiming with her friends and family helped her get through those days. Now that she’s home the isolation is still difficult, but she’s grateful to be on the mend.

“The worst part is over and I don’t have a fever. I’m not in the hospital. I’m not hooked up to anything anymore. So I’ll take some loneliness over any of that stuff,” she says

One of the main reasons she wanted to share her experience publicly is because she worries people still aren’t taking the virus seriously.

She wants everyone to know even if you’re young and healthy, you can still get very sick from the coronavirus.

“I’ve never had a respiratory infection. I’ve never had pneumonia. I’ve never had asthma and I had severe bilateral pneumonia from COVID-19. It’s scary and it’s real and it’s intense."

Since being discharged, Cara's been isolated at her parent's house. Alone in her room, she decided to speak out.

She wrote a blog post for JMORE, Baltimore Jewish Living, detailing what the last few weeks have been like.

“If you don’t think it’s real, then just read my blog. I’m not a blogger, not a writer at all. I’ve never done this before. It was really scary for me to put it all out there."

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