Why Sharing My Positive COVID Results Mattered

What I thought was a cold turned out to be COVID. I shared my positive test result with my CF care team. Not only did they let me know of an important drug that was available to reduce the risk of getting severe symptoms, but they also helped me find it since the drug was in short supply.

| 4 min read
Carmelina Hreinsson headshot
Carmelina Hreinsson

My symptoms started Sunday, January 2, 2022 with a sore throat. By Monday, I started feeling slight body aches and had nasal congestion, which -- to me -- merely indicated a run-of-the-mill cold. Even with the “overload” of COVID information, COVID did not even enter my mind as a diagnosis because I was fully vaccinated and had gotten the booster shot. Unbeknownst to me, my husband -- while out at a pharmacy to pick up filled prescriptions -- decided to pick up a couple of COVID test kits. Luckily, he happened to be there just after a delivery arrived, as test kits have been hard to come by.  

While I truly believed that I only had a cold, I figured -- what the heck -- there’s no harm in testing. Low and behold, a bright pink line appeared next to the blue control line indicating positive for COVID! Wait, what?! I was NOT mentally prepared for that result. I spent the last two years thinking COVID was a death sentence for me due to my CF condition and now had to contend with this horrendous viral infection. That said, I remained calm and decided to take a second test because -- as careful as I thought I was -- there was still a possibility that I may have contaminated the test. Surprisingly, the second test also revealed positive for COVID, which confirmed it for me -- I had COVID. My husband and stepson (who lives with us) tested negative. Ok, so now what?! 

Although my symptoms were minor, I knew that could change on a dime, so I reached out to my CF care team to notify them of my diagnosis.

Not surprisingly, because I have a superb CF care team, my doctor immediately informed me about this new anti-viral drug called Paxlovid that was developed to reduce the severity of COVID symptoms. It was, however, only available in select pharmacies. Good thing I called ahead because the first [local] pharmacy I called was all out. My next option was a pharmacy 40 minutes away. My CF team sent the prescription there and -- luckily -- when I called, the pharmacy still had some available. My husband picked it up first thing Wednesday morning. The dosage was one pill twice a day for five days. 

I think the medication worked at reducing my symptoms and I did not experience any setbacks in my lung function. The only lingering symptom I experienced was a metallic taste in my mouth, which lasted several weeks, otherwise I was pretty symptom-free. My husband, on the other hand, started getting COVID symptoms a week later and ultimately tested positive. He faired a bit worse than me and his symptoms lasted about two and a half weeks. Unlike me, my husband did not get Paxlovid, so I would have to surmise that the medication worked as expected. Although testing positive for COVID and then letting my care team know wasn’t top of mind when I felt that all I really had was a common cold, I am so glad I did take the test at the end of the day!

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Topics
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Carmelina Hreinsson headshot

Carmelina was born with cystic fibrosis, but she did not exhibit symptoms until early adulthood and was not correctly diagnosed until 15 years later. She recently retired from her job where she worked as a senior director for a research company. After spending more than 30 years in corporate America, she decided to explore her artistic side and dabble in jewelry making, painting, and crocheting, which has become her passion. She shares a home with her husband, Snaever, and her stepson, Samuel.  She is also stepmom to Ari and mom to her daughter, Elexi, who is the mother of her two beloved grandkids, Owen, and Raena.

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