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Back To Work - June 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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wearing N95 masks and gloves. We even wiped down our groceries when we got home. The nagging symptoms persisted, however, and I didn't have an appetite. I lost my sense of taste and smell. Finally, after a week of feeling rotten, I eventually went to the ER and tested positive for COVID-19. I was discharged that day and given strict orders to return to the hospital if I experienced any shortness of breath. When I got home that night a girlfriend of mine, who is also a nurse, brought me a pulse oximeter she'd rushed out to purchase. Her timing couldn't have been better. I struggled to sleep soundly in a spare bed- room away from my husband as a precaution— a few days later he also tested positive for COVID-19, but was asymptomatic — and checked the pulse oximeter throughout the night. My readings ran in the low- to mid-80s. Although those saturation levels were alarming, I hesitated to go to the hospital because I didn't want to take up a bed when healthcare resources were stretched so thin. I was also healthy and worked out every day. If I did have the virus, couldn't I just self-isolate until it ran its course? Eventually, I called my doctor and was convinced I needed to go back to the hospital. The day after my initial emergency room visit, I returned. This time I was admitted with COVID-19 and viral pneu- monia. It was a terrifying moment, and I thought it could be my end. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and I knew how quickly patients, particularly older patients, could take a turn for the worse. At this point, there are no good predictors of whom the virus impacts the most. Within the span of an hour, an infected patient's entire respiratory system could be jeopardy. In the hospital, my breathing became labored. I couldn't take a deep breath without dry coughing, which J U N E 2 0 2 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 4 5

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