Lern’s Covid Experience

covid 22

I decided to write out my experience with COVID-19 to serve as a soothing to anyone’s curiosity with what happened to me these past couple of weeks. We are all fully aware that the Omicron variant is ravaging through the USA and my experience probably tumbles into the same story you maybe are hearing in your bubbles, or personal communities, or maybe similar to your own experience.

My story began on Sunday, January 2nd. That evening I started feeling a little ‘off’. Sore throat before bed, which lead me to take some NyQuil. I cannot be fully certain where I got sick but I have my assumptions. Obviously, it being the holidays makes pin-pointing things difficult. Thankfully any of the people I was around, have not tested positive. I am so beyond thankful that it was just me.

Let me just say this: I’ve really tried hard to not get COVID these last two years. I’ve followed every rule and been overly cautious by limiting my whereabouts, masking even when others don’t care and getting my J&J vaccine in March of 2021 and boosted this past fall. I have read many medical articles and chatted with my friends in the medical communities. I have followed their leads. So in a way, I am proud that it took me this long to get COVID – on the other side of this experience, I am still pissed that I got it because of how terrifying this experience was for me. Read on…

The following Monday (January 3rd), I woke up at 6am and took my temp. No fever. However, I just ‘knew’ it was happening. Tim felt good, thankfully, but I knew something was buzzing through my body. My energy felt different. I am definitely a ‘better safe than sorry’ kind of person with this pandemic, so I immediately started getting our extra bedroom ready. We had a loose-plan as a family about this in our minds. KN95 Mask on, changing all the sheets and towels in the house and getting the Clorox wipes out to wipe down anywhere I touched. I started communicating with my husband about what my expectations would be. He was calm, as he always is. Having an isolation plan could be a good thing to talk about with your house members, FYI. It may save you some time, and possibly save your roommates from testing positive. 

Tests were nowhere to be found but I am thankful that I am friends with nurses, doctors and specialists who had two extra to spare to our household – one for me, one for Tim. That afternoon, courtesy of a porch drop off, I took a BINAX home test and saw a faint positive line. It was so faint, that it would not translate well through the iPhone lens to show my husband. ‘I don’t think that is a positive test.’ My husband said. I held firm and got VERY forthright in my stance. ‘No, it is.’ The test communicated that even a very faint line means positive in the instructions, again, better safe than sorry.

Because I am a Type A person, I immediately used that morning to search out a PCR test for days later. The earliest we could get was a Saturday at Walgreens via appointment, or a drive through PCR test at Family Arena on Thursday. Luckily, Tim and I both got a time – 11am. Testing has been very stressful, as we all know.

I quickly informed my boss, HR director and music director what was happening. I would not be able to come to work because of the positive home test and the wait to get a ‘confirmed’ result from the PCR. Thankfully, I am privileged enough to work for a company that has paid sick days and a very healthy understanding of this pandemic. I was going to stay home and monitor my symptoms per the CDC guidelines in place (which can be ultra-confusing, I know.)

Oh, and monitor did I! Here is just ‘some’ of what I logged in my iPhone notes:

Monday, January 3rd:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Not hungry
  • Random sweating
  • 93 oxygen level

Tuesday, January 4th:

  • Headache
  • 5 temp
  • 93 oxygen
  • Spiraling emotions
  • Muted taste – can’t taste ginger in my smoothie
  • Cough

Wednesday, January 5th:

  • High energy early in the morning
  • Throbbing ear and head
  • Dry cough
  • 89 oxygen level – the lowest it got, and most scary
  • Spiraling mental state – being alone in my house and not having normal oxygen made me go into a panic.

Thursday, January 6th:

  • Anxiety continues
  • Confirmed PCR test: Lauren is positive, Tim is negative
  • Congested
  • Oxygen back up in normal range

Friday, January 7th

  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • 7 temp
  • Oxygen in normal range, thankfully

Saturday, January 8th

  • Headache
  • Oxygen staying normal
  • Congested
  • Vivid dreams
  • High levels of dopamine/serotonin-feeling
  • Better day than the last 6.

Sunday, January 9th

  • Better sleep
  • Congested
  • Normal oxygen

Monday, January 10th

  • Good oxygen
  • Still congested but manageable

Tuesday, January 11th

  • Coming back to work.
  • Finally feeling the most normal I’ve felt.
  • Still building my strength up but feeling confident.
  • The congestion in my chest is breaking up.


This is a snapshot of the extensive monitoring I was doing for myself. I would send screenshots of my symptoms to people checking in, and to my medical friends who were curious. The most terrifying symptom for me was LOW OXYGEN numbers. Anything below 90 is worrisome for the average person, as I have read and talked about with nurses. Seeing that 89 low put me into a psychological spiral.

I called my doctor on third day and cried with a nurse on the phone while I soaked in a hot bath. She was so burnt out but still gave me a moment of calm with her knowledge and presence with me. She told me, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ And even though I couldn’t completely believe her yet, I held onto her words like the door that Rose is frozen to after the Titanic sank. I would say those words out loud to myself when I looked at my low oxygen numbers and climbing blood pressure.

You will hear a spectrum of people’s experiences with COVID – some have the ‘mild’ experience. Some have the ‘it was a bad cold’ and them some have the ‘this sh*t is no joke’ experience. To be honest with you, I am still assessing my experience. It wasn’t mild, but it wasn’t the worst experience out there. Honestly, the adjective I’ve used through texts these last couple of weeks has been, ‘Scary.’ That’s the best I could do with my take on it. And that’s enough.

For me, because this experience and disease is so autonomous and different to each body it infects, it was  sending me into a wave of panic and emotion. And you are alone. And you are afraid of giving it to your partner or animals, or children, or literally ANYONE you come in contact with. I am a control freak, I have a professionally diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder and let me tell you – these psychological factors mixed into the pandemic and getting Covid, really not a great time. Like, the lowest I’ve ever been in my mental health. So here’s another tip: TALK TO PEOPLE if you get Covid. Cry, explain, laugh, cry, explain. If it wasn’t for the hundreds of comments, texts, emails, phone calls, face-times I had, I don’t  know what would have happened. KEEP IN CONTACT WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE. And if you’re a person comforting someone going through this: know they are afraid and need empathy and an ear. And any comforts you can find. 

This is all very real and maybe you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Whatever, Lern.’

Let me say this: I have talked out loud to the universal-guardians-that-be, more this last week than I’ve ever tried. I tapped into my spiritual guides – my dad, my grandmas, my dead friends, and I have BEGGED them to help me get through this, and help my friends, family and communities. BEGGED them. I realized this last week how important my time on this planet is, more so than ever before. And what is important to me. I have changed in this experience. Maybe you know what I am talking about… maybe one day you will find out. Because at this point, it’s not an ‘if’ you get covid, it’s ‘when.’

This has been a very scary time for my 36 years. And I am curious what Covid has done to my lungs. I was already someone who in the last two years has: a) gotten their lungs x-ray’d at urgent care in 2020, and b) did a lung test last year because I was sure something was wrong with them. Yes, it’s like hypochondria 2.0 but also, I need my damn lungs.

So now, when and hopefully if, this surge of Covid calms down – probably in the summer, I will be paying to have my lungs looked at once again to compare any damage that this virus has caused. My lungs are my pride and joy – I talk for a living. I sing as an outlet. I need them, just like you, to breathe. And I don’t want to stop anytime soon.

Anyway. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. I am sharing this experience to hopefully open some eyes, or relate to anyone going through it right now, or to at least mark this moment in time. I try to be transparent as much as possible with my audience about anything happening in my life, and this is an experience that can affect anyone.

Please consult your primary care doctor for your experience. I am beyond thankful to mine. You have probably read many articles online like I have. Make sure they’re a REAL source. Do your best to know what’s happening in your body and in the world — we are all more connected than we realize.

And please know: I have been serious about this pandemic since it started. I have listened to the people who are smarter than me, and I have tried like hell to do everything I can to be safe. I am lucky to be here, and if you’re reading this – YOU ARE LUCKY TO BE HERE. I sincerely HOPE that you, or the person you love most in the world, never has to go through this experience. And if you do, I hope it’s mild… but you will not know until you’re alone in a room, not knowing what is happening to you, until you do. And that is the reality.

Please keep doing your part to remain safe – if not for you, then everyone else.

I am hoping to never go through this again and I am stepping up my efforts, even more than before. Because I cared before I got COVID and I care more now.

Stay well.