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Healthwatch 16: Doctor with COVID-19 shares her story

A Geisinger doctor who contracted the coronavirus shares what went on in her household.

When you're a doctor, you're faced with people every day, which can increase your chances of getting COVID-19. When you're a doctor married to another doctor, well, that's where Dr. Sapana Mainali's story begins.

"I was scared. I was a little disappointed at first, knowing that we did everything we can and still coming down with this nasty virus," Dr. Mainali said.

Dr. Mainali is a Geisinger primary care physician in the State College area, married to a doctor who is a kidney specialist. They took every masking, hand washing, and social distancing precaution they could.

Still, he started feeling sick the day before Thanksgiving.

A few days later, it was her turn.

"I had a little bit of a scratchy throat and a little bit of a headache. That's how it started."

Then came what Dr. Mainali calls a "Thunderstorm of symptoms."

"A few days later, I started to have severe body aches, a severe pounding headache, couldn't sleep because of the symptoms, and I was so dizzy for about two days I couldn't even get out of bed," Dr. Mainali recalled. "On the third day, it was like, 'Boom boom, boom, boom, boom. Everything started."

Including cough, shortness of breath, fever, and chest tightness, which only got worse.

Dr. Mainali was eventually hospitalized for nearly a week, just after her husband had been discharged.

Thankfully, she says, she recovered and now feels about 90 percent back to normal.

"My respiratory symptoms have gone away completely, so that is good. But my aerobic stamina is not completely there yet."

Dr. Mainali has teenage children. They were not affected.

Her parents also live with them. Her mother ended up COVID-positive as well but didn't get a severe case, and her father was not affected.

She shared the story so people know the virus is real and dangerous and hopes we can all be vaccinated soon.