‘I Need Help — I Feel Like I'm Dying': San Diego Woman Shares COVID-19 Story

Elisa Ortiz contracted the illness in March when little was known about the coronavirus. Now recovered, she laments the politicizing of safety protocols

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A San Diego woman is sharing her personal experience of surviving COVID-19 and dealing with the difficult after effects six months after contracting the coronavirus.

“I kind of started preparing myself mentally for the possibility that this might be it for me, like I might die in my bed,” Elisa Ortiz said.

Ortiz, 37, was an essential worker at a grocery store. On March 28th, she remembers "feeling off" and trying to fight off what we now know as obvious COVID symptoms. But at the time, testing wasn’t as robust and readily available as it is today, and she was unable to get tested.

“It gets to a point. as your symptoms get worse and worse, you just feel, well, Who’s going to help me if the doctors aren’t going to help me?" Ortiz said. "It’s scary to just feel no one is there for you.”

Ortiz was forced to recover at home but developed gastrointestinal issues, fever and nausea. She wasn’t able to hold down food and lost 16 pounds. On April 12, her fiancé finally rushed her to an Urgent Care, where she tested positive.

“It’s probably the scariest experience I’ve had being sick in my life," Ortiz said. "I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s horrible,"

Six months after her original symptoms, Ortiz has made a slow, difficult recovery. But she still is still dealing with the after effects of combatting the virus.

“I’d say the hardest part of the recovery has been the depression that I’ve gone through, difficulty finding support and talking to people that have had the same experience as me, Ortiz said.

Ortiz said she has been able to find, through social media, some support with others who shared her experience. And while she says, without question, people should wear masks and social distance, she’s disappointed at how the topic has been politicized.

“I kind of struggle with how much energy I should put in telling people who don’t believe in science to wear a mask," Ortiz said. "And I just say to the people who aren’t really sure about what’s going on: "Just practice basic human empathy and the smallest bit will get us through."

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