It sounds like a horror story, doesn’t it?, but it happened to me, I lived it and now I can tell it. We all find ourselves living our own movie, something that we thought would never happen, that was so far away to prepare us. In my country, Ecuador, on February 28 the first case of COVID-19 was known, I was very calm, I mistakenly thought that this would not happen to me, that life would continue with normality.
On the weekend of March 14, I had plans. I first visit my endocrinologist for my quarterly review. That day I also planned to meet with a group of friends with Type 1 diabetes with whom I have formed a beautiful community. The rumors began to spread. It was said that the president was going to close borders, that the country would go into quarantine and it was heard that we had to start supplying ourselves with what was necessary. In my head I was just thinking, should I buy insulin for 1, 2, or how many months? I was afraid, mainly because of the economic factor.
On Sunday, March 15, the president broke the news. My son had to stay at his paternal family’s house because we agreed that until everything calmed down a bit, it was better that I was in contact with as few people as possible, you know, “because of my vulnerable condition.”
I stayed at my boyfriend’s house, thinking “well, at least we keep company and we’ll try to enjoy this coexistence together.” My boyfriend started with symptoms of something that looked like a cold on Tuesday, March 17, a dry cough, a fever of over 38 degrees, and discomfort in his body. I told him that maybe it was just a cold, that he did not suggest that it was COVID-19 because we had not been in contact with anyone whose test had turned out positive, and that it was practically impossible if there were not so many cases by then. Days later, coworkers confirmed that they tested positive for COVID-19 and that was when we were really scared.
On February 20 my symptoms began, they were fever, cough, headache and body aches, and very cold, my boyfriend told me that if he was a COVID-19 carrier, it was most likely that he would have infected me. We recall the recommendations that my endocrinologist had given us regarding the virus: that the main thing was to be aware of glucose levels. Those days my glucose did not behave well, it did not drop below 280 mg/dl and I had to raise my insulin doses a lot, which are generally low.
In Ecuador, they set up a line to attend to patients with symptoms, but if there were no respiratory complications, they did not give importance to the callers. I called several times, stating that I was home with a possible COVID-19 infection, that I had had contact with people who had the virus, and most importantly, that I was from the vulnerable group for Type 1 diabetes, but what do you think? Apparently, my case was not that important.
I had a fever for 3 days, there was a day that I was not even in the mood to eat but I had to or my glucose would become a problem. To this, the tension of the confinement is added. I had to isolate myself in the room and even though my family had all the heart to take care of us, I felt the risk of having the virus.
I started to get better and have a better look, I was desperate to be able to taste food or smell things because I also had those symptoms, loss of smell, and taste. Little by little, we started to recover, but I still couldn’t do the test.
21 days later I managed to do a test but the result was already negative. Despite that, I was glad to see that I did not have the virus. These days later, the symptoms that remained were extreme tiredness, very similar to the fatigue of low glucose, and a little cough that gradually seems to go away.
The most difficult thing for me was trying to keep my glucose levels correct, I was very afraid that having them high would complicate my case and I would be admitted to a hospital.
What is my fear now? That the quarantine continues and it is difficult for me to get my supplies, due to the border closure I know that I will not be able to buy my test strips outside of Ecuador for a while, and buying them here is too expensive for me. Due to the unstable levels of my glucose, I have also used many more test strips than usual. But, despite all this, I am enormously grateful to have another chance, that my viral picture has developed very mildly, and that I am here to tell about it. So I even celebrated my 31st birthday in quarantine but happy to be alive!