A Colorado nurse who contracted the coronavirus after attending a medical conference in Hawaii is speaking out about her harrowing experience.
Lisa Merck of Crested Butte told KDVR-TV in a recent interview — taken from her home because she is still under quarantine — that her bout with coronavirus began with the "sniffles" at the end of a three-week trip to Hawaii with her husband.
"We were on buses, trains — we were on planes having fun," Merck said. "We went to a medical conference over there and on the day we were going to leave, I had little sniffles. That's it."
But when she returned to the U.S., Merck said her condition took a turn for the worst: body aches, a fever, and nausea.
"We got back and my muscles ached, my bones ached and my joints ached really bad. It felt like someone was stabbing me with an ice pick and I was like, 'I wonder if I have the flu,'" she explained. "Finally, on Sunday night, I told my husband, 'I need you take me to the ER. I don't feel very good, and I feel like whenever I stand up I want to collapse.'"
Despite returning a negative flu test, the CDC and her local health clinic initially told Merck that she did not meet criteria for coronavirus testing.
Then, finally, she tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
"I'm feeling really short on breath. I get extremely exhausted," Merck said.
Although nausea is not a symptom commonly associated with coronavirus, Merck said she as lost about five pounds due to the nausea she has experienced.
According to KDVR, Merck is being isolated at her home with her husband until she no longer shows symptoms of coronavirus. She will only be permitted to leave isolation once she tests negative for the disease on consecutive tests at least 24 hours apart.
In the end, Merck said of coronavirus, "It's nothing like I expected."