• In mid-March, she woke up in the middle of the night with coronavirus-like symptoms, and reached out to her doctor.
  • She wasn't able to receive a COVID-19 test, but her doctor advised Rider that she was "presumed positive," and needed to self-isolate for two weeks until she was no longer contagious.
  • On her ninth day of illness, she lost her senses of smell and taste; as a food blogger, this freaked her out the most.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

Early Saturday morning on March 14th, I woke up around 3:30 a.m. feeling sick and achy with chills. Crap, I thought. It's starting.

I grabbed the thermometer I keep in my nightstand to monitor my temperature for thyroid disease to see if I had a fever. It was over 101. I live in Seattle and had just returned from a five day trip to NYC the week before. The trip was just days before any isolation or quarantine was suggested, and I had been in close contact with hundreds if not thousands of people all over both cities in the prior few weeks between business events, dinners out with friends, a Broadway show, two flights, and airports.

I contacted my doctor, but couldn't get a COVID-19 test

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I took a dose of CBD with melatonin and fell back asleep there wasn't a lot I could do at 3 a.m., and since my only symptom was a fever, going back to bed was my best option. When I woke up, I called my doctor's office to ask what I should do, and the receptionist was able to get me in for a phone appointment with my doctor at 5 p.m. that night.

My doctor called me promptly at 5 p.m. We chatted about the uncertainty in the world as I told her my symptoms: fever, an achy body, and slight chest pressure. I let her know I was so tired that I spent almost the entire day in bed and felt like I could go back to sleep, which is completely out of the norm for me. I generally wake up easily around 7 a.m. and almost never want to sleep during the day.

She wanted to test me for COVID-19, and I also wanted to be tested but, at the time of our call, there were not enough tests. Since I'm otherwise a healthy young adult, she was not able to access a test for me. While I wanted a test to know what exactly I was dealing with, I understood that it wasn't her fault and agreed that tests should be saved for the high-risk groups, like pregnant women, people with pre-existing conditions, and people over 65. Since I had all of the symptoms of COVID-19, she marked me "presumed positive." She also told me that if my breathing became labored or my fever got worse and wouldn't break to not call back, but instead to go directly to the emergency room.

As a health coach, I knew how to take care of myself: Drink plenty of water, eat simple whole foods to keep my energy up, take extra vitamin C and zinc, and rest.

For the first few days, my fever hovered around 101 degrees

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My fever hovered between 100 and 101 for four days and started to come down on the fifth day, but the worst part was feeling achy and tired. My cough was very mild and my breathing did not feel labored it more just felt like a slight pressure in my lungs, like I was more aware that they were there when I took a deep breath. The first three days were the worst; I pretty much just stayed in bed, and wasn't even up to watching a show or paying attention to an audiobook.

After day 5, I started feeling better

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The last few days with a fever were mild; I was able to get up and make some soup and watch a few episodes of Schitt's Creek on Netflix. By the end of day five I felt much better; I would say that I felt pretty much 100% better by day seven. For context, I had a sinus infection in January that took me out for about 10 days. Personally, the sinus infection was worse than COVID-19. I still had a faint cough in the mornings, but really felt great at this point almost back to my normal self.

But on day 9, I lost my sense of smell

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As I started to feel better, I (like most people probably) wondered if I had the flu. Was it really coronavirus? Who knows unless they get tested. Since I had just been all over NYC and Seattle, I knew the chances were high. But still, I wanted to know.

Then, the most bizarre part of this whole thing happened on day nine: I completely lost my sense of smell.

I hadn't really noticed it yet, because nothing sounds good to eat or tastes good when you're sick, and I'd just been eating fruit and a lentils with potato dish to keep my energy up. I was in the shower, and noticed that I couldn't smell my shampoo. Then I opened every bottle in my shower and noticed I couldn't smell anything not even the faintest smell. I dried off and opened my one bottle of really nice (i.e. potent) perfume from Paris ... and nothing. That's when I realized I had completely lost my sense of smell and taste. I'd say my taste was at about 10% I could detect if something was acidic or savory, but I couldn't smell a darn thing. Not the perfume, not any food, and not even if I stuck my entire nose and face in a big fancy candle.

I immediately Googled "loss of smell" and a few coronavirus articles came up. This is a side effect of the virus, and (thank goodness) should resolve itself in the next 10 days or so.

Being a food blogger, and well, just human, losing my sense of smell was the part of this that freaked me out. I didn't mind getting sick that much it's inconvenient but not the end of the world but losing my sense of smell and taste? That would affect my livelihood forever. I was confident it would come back, and was just taking it all one day at a time like everyone else.

On day 14, I ventured outside into an empty neighborhood

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I live in downtown Seattle right near the Amazon campus. I've been in isolation over the recommended time with the virus, which according to my doctor and the King County website is when "at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and, at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared." Now that I'm able to get outside (while still maintaining the recommended six feet of space for social distancing), I just took a walk in what is normally one of the country's most bustling neighborhoods, but now eerily feels like a ghost-town.

On a normal day during the week, this area is packed and vibrant. It's typically almost impossible to grab a seat at one of the free tables in the park. People eating lunch, playing with dogs, and chatting with friends all over the steps and grassy areas are the norm. Right now, it's so empty down here that maintaining the six feet of distance between people isn't even something you really need to think about.

Since I live alone and work for myself from home, I was able to stay in self-isolation for the 14 days. I'm a food blogger so I already had plenty of food in my pantry I only needed to have groceries delivered once. I've spent the past two weeks resting, cooking, and writing as much as possible. I don't have cable, so I read the news every day to stay informed. However, I'm also making my best effort to stay out of the 24-hour news cycle because I can feel the sadness and negativity set in.

With so much uncertainty in the world right now, I'm leaning on the advice that I don't have to have everything in life figured out right now. Today, I don't have to think about the next year or the next 10 years. We'll all have plenty of time to recover and plan. Right now, I'm focusing on feeling better today and tomorrow.

I feel genuinely lucky that I had a mild illness with this virus. My heart goes out to all the people more severely affected.

Elizabeth Rider is an author, recipe writer, and blogging expert who teaches people how to make delicious healthy food at home. She's been documenting day-by-day with Covid-19 on Instagram Stories. Download her free healthy recipe ebook on her blog.

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