An emergency room physician who tested positive for the novel coronavirus days after attending a conference said he feels guilty about possibly infecting others and anxious because he is diabetic and asthmatic, but that he is also hopeful because he is mostly healthy and his symptoms so far have been mild.
“Physically I feel fine,” Rosny Daniel, who identifies himself as an emergency room physician in a post on Medium, wrote. “Mild muscle soreness and headaches mostly. I haven’t had any more fevers since waking up a little sweaty Friday morning. My breathing is fine. No nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I have enough insulin, Motrin, Tylenol and Albuterol for 3+ weeks. My family and friends have been incredibly thoughtful and generous, offering to help take care of me and get me groceries and necessities. I haven’t gone stir crazy yet, but I might start browsing Amazon for various to-dos soon. I’ve had plenty of FaceTime calls today and my Haitian dad is literally calling me every 4-6 hours to check-in.”
“Emotionally, I feel anxious, guilty and thankful,” he said.
Daniel went on to explain that he is a type 1 diabetic and has asthma, so he has been “extra paranoid” about wearing personal protective equipment and washing his hands since the outbreak began. When he began feeling “just a little sick” last Friday, he asked someone to cover his shift so that he didn’t risk infecting anyone.
He said he was told to get tested for COVID-19 and was found to be running a low-grade fever of 99.7.
“Saturday morning I woke up to a message from a colleague that my test came back positive for COVID-19,” Daniel wrote.
He said he is now closely watching his symptoms because of his pre-existing conditions and is “hopeful” that he will recover without developing a “severe or critical illness.”
“I feel guilty because I am horrified that I may have exposed other people to COVID-19,” he wrote. “I was at a conference out of town a few days before getting sick. Of course, I washed my hands like crazy. But I didn’t cover my cough, because I never had a cough. I avoided all handshakes and gave people the ‘Wakanda forever’ salute instead. Yet I still worry that I either picked up the illness there or worse, exposed someone else.”
Daniel said that had the conference been just a few days later when more information about the cases in Italy began to come out, he wouldn’t have gone.
“I worry that I touched something or coughed somewhere and now someone else is sick because of me,” he wrote. “I still feel guilty even though I stopped any and all contact and got tested immediately as soon as I developed symptoms. I am working on getting over that guilt.”
He said he’s also thankful that he is young, has health insurance and access to medical care, and that he has a safe, clean place to quarantine in.
“I hope that we all get through this COVID-19 thing as best we can,” he wrote. “As few infections as possible. As little morbidity and mortality as possible. As much humility and civility as possible. As much love and compassion as possible.”
Daniel also urged others to continue to practice social distancing and working from home.