Young COVID-19 patient: ‘See my face’


Natalie Kikkenborg at her residence, in self-quarantine.

Natalie Kikkenborg is lastly starting to really feel like herself once more — practically three weeks after the 36-year-old Westville health teacher and single mother’s temperature first shot as much as 102 levels, and over one week after she examined constructive for Covid-19.

She desires individuals to see her and learn about her expertise, partly to dispel misconceptions about who’s or isn’t in danger throughout the pandemic.

Her fever has subsided. Her splitting complications have gone away. She has regained her sense of style and scent. And she or he’s extra positive than ever that one of the best ways New Haveners can defend themselves and their neighborhood is by staying residence to the best extent potential.

Kikkenborg is certainly one of over 70 New Haveners up to now who’ve examined constructive for the infectious respiratory illness brought on by the novel coronavirus.

Medical professionals, public well being specialists, and native political leaders have warned that the actual number of infected New Haveners is almost certainly much higher contemplating how comparatively tough it stays for most individuals to get examined.

According to the announced statistics last week, 41 p.c of the confirmed instances in New Haven contain individuals like Kikkenborg — who usually are not seniors, however between 25 and 49 years outdated.

On Monday, Kikkenborg spoke with the Unbiased over the cellphone in regards to the bodily and emotional trial she has been by means of since she first developed coronavirus-related symptoms on March 11.

She additionally spoke in regards to the outpouring of neighborhood assist she acquired since her constructive check outcomes got here again on March 21, following an preliminary medical misdiagnosis that she had the flu.

“My overarching feeling has been gratitude for thus many issues,” Kikkenborg stated.

She is grateful for her physique, which seems to be convalescing.

She is grateful for her family and friends and even strangers in the neighborhood, who’ve dropped off groceries at her entrance door and who’ve repeatedly checked in by cellphone and textual content and Fb to see how she and her daughter are doing.

And she or he is grateful for the chance she now has to share her story with fellow New Haveners and to strengthen that this pandemic shouldn’t be some distant abstraction affecting solely Wuhan, China or New York City.

Covid-19 is right here in New Haven. Anybody, no matter their age or background or physical health, can get it. And everybody should observe social distancing precautions to offer themselves and their neighborhood the most effective probability potential to remain wholesome and secure throughout this disaster.

“We’re going to flatten this curve lots quicker the extra individuals settle for we simply have to remain residence proper now,” she stated.

Kikkenborg acknowledged how tough that may be for a lot of. She herself is a single mom elevating a fourth-grade daughter who’s now residence indefinitely as colleges stay closed. As an expert Zumba teacher and singer, she has misplaced practically all sources of earnings due to the broader financial shutdown precipitated by the social distancing precautions required to stem the unfold of the illness.

“It’s terrifying, however it doesn’t imply that you just’re above the foundations and might take the possibilities and could be out and about,” she stated.

She cited a buddy’s current Instagram publish that encapsulated the message she most desires to share with the broader public as she continues to get better from Covid-19.

That publish learn: “Don’t change your habits to keep away from being contaminated. Assume you’re contaminated and alter your habits to keep away from transmitting.”

“I Don’t Bear in mind Ever In My Life Feeling That Unwell”

“I’m 19 days publish onset of my illness,” Kikkenborg stated Monday morning. “I’m feeling just about like myself.”

Over two weeks in the past, she stated, that was very a lot not the case.

She stated her temperature went from 99.1 levels at 10 a.m. on March 11 to 102 levels at 1 p.m. later that day.

That’s when she went to an pressing care clinic in Hamden. A speedy flu check got here again damaging, however her physician nonetheless prescribed her Tamiflu, which she took for the following 5 days.

Her temperature stayed at 102 levels. She developed extreme complications that radiated all through her whole head. She misplaced her sense of style and scent. And she or he was so overcome by fatigue that she struggled to make the 10-foot trek from her bed room to the toilet.

“Simply opening my eyes to focus, whether or not on my cellphone or a chunk of paper, would ship a taking pictures ache by means of my head,” she stated. “By far the fever and the fatigue have been positively essentially the most tough signs. I don’t keep in mind ever in my life feeling that unwell.”

Her physician really helpful that she get examined for coronavirus, so she drove right down to a drive-through testing station in Stratford.

“Pulling into the testing website was surreal,” she stated. Like one thing out of a sci-fi film.

The entire medical personnel have been wearing hazmat fits. The one that examined her caught a swab up her nostril and counted down from 10 from behind his masks and face protect. Inside 48 hours of getting examined, she acquired phrase that she was constructive for Covid-19. She has been in self-quarantine at residence ever since.

“There was some disgrace in understanding I may have probably contaminated somebody within the time after I was asymptomatic and likewise within the time after I thought, primarily based off of my appointments, it was the flu,” she stated.

In a public Fb video she posted on Saturday commemorating one week since she came upon she has coronavirus, Kikkenborg stated that she has discovered some consolation in understanding that, by donating blood, she would possibly have the ability to contribute to a possible treatment for the illness as somebody who has contracted it and is now recovering.

“There may be a lot guilt related to that,” she stated in regards to the potential for infecting another person. “However to know that you may save individuals on the different finish helps me grapple with that guilt.” She stated her daughter has not developed any coronavirus-related signs.

Whereas she has been homebound, mates have dropped off groceries and added her and her daughter to their Instacart accounts. She stated she just lately spoke to a buddy from her front room window; that bodily current if distant social contact supplied a much-appreciated balm for her current isolation.

“Above All: Keep Dwelling”

Requested what suggestions she has for individuals seeking to assist those that have developed coronavirus, Kikkenborg stated, “Simply letting them know that you just’re there. It doesn’t take a lot. Only a easy, ‘Hey, if it is advisable to discuss, I’m right here.’ Simply properly needs are all it actually takes.” She stated the considered attempting to feed oneself is “furthest out of your thoughts” when going by means of one thing like Covid-19, and so any grocery or take-out drop-offs are at all times appreciated too.

“And simply preserve your distance,” she continued. “Hold you well being and security” as a way to be a assist to another person in want.

“It’s so in opposition to human nature to be socially distant,” she stated. “However that’s completely what we’ve got to do.”

Kikkenborg is a workers singer at a church in Norwalk; two of that church’s members just lately died from coronavirus. Kikkenborg stated she has been open along with her fourth-grade daughter about Kikkenborg’s personal sickness, in addition to in regards to the members of their church household who’ve just lately died.

“I believe it’s very simple to really feel faraway from it when it’s not in your rapid circle,” she stated.

By far the fever and the fatigue have been positively essentially the most tough signs. I don’t keep in mind ever in my life feeling that unwell.

–Natalie Kikkenborg

That’s partly why she went on Fb and made that video about her prognosis. “I needed individuals to see my face” and to see that anybody, even a wholesome skilled health teacher in her mid-30s, can contract Covid-19.

Kikkenborg stated she just lately took her first Zumba class since falling unwell a number of weeks in the past. It was co-taught by an teacher in New Haven and one other teacher in Costa Rica.

She stated she meant on calling in and watching. She wound up dancing at residence for 45 minutes.

“Inside a couple of minutes, it felt like regular,” she stated in regards to the Zumba Zoom class. “It felt like my on a regular basis class.”

She slept for six hours throughout the afternoon the day after the category, she stated. Which is sort of uncommon for somebody who normally teaches two to 3 courses a day, six days per week. However, she stated, that’s solely anticipated, as she remains to be recovering.

She stated her plan proper now could be to isolate for no less than per week after her signs have utterly gone away, after which to get examined once more. Since medical suggestions across the pandemic are altering so rapidly, she stated, she’s undecided when precisely she might be deemed medically all-cleared to finish her quarantine and resume her life post-Covid.

“I do know it’s arduous, as a result of we’re all going stir-crazy,” she stated in her most up-to-date Fb video. However for now, essentially the most compassionate factor that one can do—for oneself, for one’s household, for one’s neighborhood—is to observe the social distancing suggestions designed to “flatten the curve.”

“Keep wholesome,” she stated on the finish of her video. “Keep together with your households. And above all: Keep residence.”

This story was first revealed March 30, 2020, by the New Haven Unbiased. 

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