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Help is just a phone call away. That's what Susan Fox discovered when she called the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Nurse Line. Here's her first-person account of a journey to an unexpected diagnosis.
Written by Susan Fox
I'm a 68-year-old woman in Wisconsin and have been a patient with Mayo Clinic for many years.
Despite extreme caution, my husband and I both contracted COVID-19 last November. We both recovered slowly, and when our opportunity to get the vaccine came up, we enthusiastically participated. I continued to have limited taste and smell and lingering symptoms. By the end of May, I was not well at all and had all sorts of strange aches and pains. I was becoming convinced that I had long-haul COVID-19 or maybe even an adult version of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome affecting children.
Then I would start to feel OK and began wondering if I was imagining things. Maybe I was a rare, breakthrough case who became reinfected? Although, I didn't see how that was possible. I took the symptom check online and the advice was to call the [now retired] COVID-19 line, which I could see was a Minnesota number.
Nurse Kimberly Ewing patiently listened to me and was so kind and caring. She asked more questions and commented that when someone calls at 7 a.m., there's usually something going on. She not only arranged for my COVID-19 test, but she also advised me to see a health care provider. She got me in to my own clinic the same day and stayed on the phone to personally connect me with someone there. After she took care of everything, she entered thorough notes in my patient account.
The diagnosis took another visit and some blood work, but I had Lyme disease! That wasn't even on my radar. The extremely competent nurse practitioner, Carol Burgmeier, started me on the correct antibiotics immediately, and I feel the best I've felt in a very long time. Nurse Kimberly went above and beyond her COVID-19 help, which resulted in my receiving the right care. This could have easily gone very differently without her professionalism and care for my well-being. She has no idea what happened after that phone call, but I am so very grateful to have spoken with her that awful morning.
What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19
If you are showing signs of possible COVID-19 symptoms, take one of these steps:
- Use the Check Symptoms tool through Patient Online Services on the web or the Mayo Clinic app for an immediate recommendation based on your symptoms.
- Contact your local health care provider.
If you meet testing criteria, you'll be directed to one of our local testing sites.