Hello San Diego!
Ashley Matthews here. I‘m a part of the NBC 7 News Today team but you haven’t seen me on TV for the past five weeks because I’ve been at home, sick with COVID-19. I wanted to share my experience with you in hopes it may help someone else. Everyone is different, but this is my journey. I truly believe that the more information we have right now, the better. So, here it is.
Before I begin, I did want to stress to you that I was taking COVID-19 very seriously. I'm healthy and my only pre-existing condition is asthma as a child, so yes, that put me in a little bit of a higher risk category, but I was really trying to be as safe as possible by not traveling. I haven't been on a plane and haven't even gotten my haircut in six months. I also always wear my mask in public when around other people.
But on the evening of July 17, something just wasn’t right. I started getting really congested and a lot of body aches.
At first, I thought it was allergies so I took an allergy pill but nothing changed. The next day I felt worse; I experienced really bad headaches, extreme dizziness and felt like I had a sinus infection. I was very tired.
I didn’t have a fever, though, so I didn’t think it was COVID-19. Another day came and went with the same symptoms, so I thought I should get tested just to be safe.
I went to a free, walk-in clinic at the Tubman- Chavez Community Center on Euclid Ave, Chollas View area.
I just showed up, waited in line and the whole process took about an hour-and-a-half.
The test was a nasal swab and it took just a few seconds to administer. I did it myself in front of a nurse. This isn't something you should be scared to do -- it's so quick and easy.
It did take a few days to get my test results back, though. During that time, I rested and stayed at home because I was sick and wanted to be as safe as possible. Four days later, a doctor with San Diego County called me to let me know I tested positive for COVID-19 and went over the next steps in my recovery.
She let me know it was very important for me to isolate away from everybody else for at least 14 days and until I haven’t had any symptoms for 72 hours. Following both of those procedures proved to be very important in my case because it was a roller coaster ride!
One day I’d feel OK and thought I was in the clear, all to be followed with terrible days full of exhaustion. Some days it was hard to get out of bed. I’d sleep for 18 hours a day. My body was fighting it so hard.
After three weeks, I actually had to get on antibiotics to help break up some of the congestion because it was just not going away. That did help but I was still completely worn out.
It was frustrating not being able to fight it off faster. I started getting down on myself because I didn’t feel good and didn’t have any energy. My doctor told me this was common; it’s tough being sick and isolated from the world! After about a month, though, I started sleeping less and felt like myself again.
I’ve now changed my diet and am really focusing on being as good as possible to my body. I still have no idea how I got COVID-19.
I have to thank all of the medical professionals working so hard to help all of us during this pandemic. The ones I spoke with over this experience were incredibly helpful and so comforting when I needed it most.
Edited by Karla Rendon-Alvarez and Christina Bravo