Written: April 30th, 2020

Many of these things you should do now anyway! And these are my experiences, obviously talk to your doctor first:

Make your will!! People can do their will on legal zoom. It’s super fast and cheap. You can notarize your will online with a notary app. Finalize your will early on because you become too exhausted. I did mine 1 month ago before any symptoms began, but I’ve still been too exhausted to get it notarized. When I was on the way to the ER, I just emailed it to my parents and said, “I sign and approve this will.”

Early on, you should definitely buy a finger oxygen monitor monitor and thermometer because they are hard to find and take weeks to deliver. It’s a good idea to have a blood pressure machine too because many people have strokes from covid.

Also, have 2 – 3 bottles of Tylenol because doctors ask you to take it multiple times a day to reduce fevers and help with pain.. Some people, myself included, only get fevers at night. I honestly think that’s why a bunch of people die at night, from covid. I didn’t realize I was having fevers until the docs told me. I woke up drenched in sweat, so now I take Tylenol before bed so my fevers don’t get too high.

Buy 24-48 packs of water so u don’t have to stand up constantly and become winded. Don’t drink too too much water because you’ll throw off your electrolyte balance, so drink Pedialyte, coconut water or gatorade too. Pedilayte are coconut water are preferred because they have less sugar than gatorade.

Also, keep 1 Gatorade in your bed, so you have it next to you in the morning. Whenever I wake up, I feel horrible & have difficulty breathing and getting up to eat. My acupuncturist and doctor told me that it’s probably from sweating so much at night from the fever that I’m dehydrated in the am. So now, before I get out of bed, I normally drink some of a Gatorade and a smoothie (link on bottom) so I am able to get up.

Buy iron pills because many people (myself included ) end up having low iron, hemoglobin and red blood cells.

Lidocaine patches on the chest help extremely with chest tightness. Icy hot or bengay on the back and ribs help with this to.

Also, if you have asthma or your doctor prescribes one, definitely get an inhaler. Since pharmacies are backed up, it could take a few days to receive one.

Buy compression socks because many people, with covid, get blood clots. My one leg was more swollen so compression socks helped.

Also, make sure your list of medicines and emergency contacts are updated in your phone emergency log and email it to your family. You could end up having “covid fog brain” (is what I call it) where you can’t think straight. This is often due to fevers, exhaustion and low oxygen.

You might even want to have an ER bag set because I had to go 2x and it was hard for me to think of what to tell my roomate to pack for me

Look up nearest emergency room to you because that is where an ambulance would bring you. If that ER is terrible like mine is, you should have the private ambulance number, like Medex +1 (773) 725-9111, in case u need it (I realize this is expensive and many people can’t afford it). Also look up the nearest good hospital.

Also, it is common for white men in the medical profession to not listen or believe women, people of color or LGBTIQ+ folks. When I was in the ambulance, they kept saying, “It’s probably just anxiety, not covid.” I was too out of breath and could barely talk but kept trying to tell him “No, I already went to Er once, I have covid.” And he wouldn’t listen. He wouldnt even hook me up to machines until I made him.

Write a letter or list to give to doctors, in case you can’t talk. Also, if you’re in a union, wear your union hat or pin because some hospitals will treat you better. My first time in the ER, with the union hat, they treated me far better. The second time in the ER, they wouldn’t even come if I pressed the button, they kept forgetting to hook me up to the vital monitor machines and my family had to call the ER nurse station to help me. And be extremely nice to the healthcare staff. They are way over worked and many are our students’ parents too!!

Make sure you have a therapist bc it is very stressful, especially when you can’t breathe. Luckily, some good hospitals like Northwestern have a social worker on call 24/7 and they will give u her number if you ask the ER. It’s still best to have your own therapist because social workers are rotating.

I think it’s tricky for people who live alone. You can’t break quarantine but if people have bad cases of the virus, living alone is super dangerous. I think I would’ve died without my roomate here. You need people to check on you (can be verbally through your bedroom door or phone calls so there is 0 contact) because often you feel very light headed and like you could faint. There were many days where I couldn’t get up to get food or liquids, so my roomate had to bring them to me.

Also, think of who will take care of your pets. Even if you are home, you may become too winded to do it. Maybe, buy automatic feeders.

There are many other things that are helpful but the things listed above you should get right away. These things help a lot but aren’t urgent (ask your doctor first):

-warm air humidifier and add essential oils like mint or eucalyptus

-Benedryl and mucinex works for some-vitamin d-zinc-vitamin c

-chair to sit in or cushion to sit on that doesn’t touch ur back (very hard to breathe while anything touches your back). Or buy a pillow u can lay on a ur belly

-cough drops, cough medicine-heating pad for chills

-sleeping medicine or take Benedryl. Only take it if the doctor says it’s ok because u don’t want to be too knocked out

-garlic (boosts immunity)

-black seed oil (boosts immunity and good for lungs. Been around 1000s of years, even found in king tuts tomb)

-apple cider vinegar (boosts immunity)

-vapor chest rub or shower vapo bombs



-something to do like video games to keep your mind off the pain (animal crossing is life)

-know your work and union rules for taking the covid sick leave (ctu gets 2 weeks off for covid without using sick days. Also, BCBS IL’s policy now is that everything is 100% covered for anything covid related, even if you don’t test positive but are presumed positive since 30-50% of tests are false negatives. You won’t even have to pay a copay. $0).

-tons of lemons, help w breathing and clean the organs

-smoothies and soup

-lymph node brush to massage and drain your lymph nodes

-ice packs for head aches

-air purifier or warm air humidifier

-ginger tea for stomach problems

-tea kettle you can plug in next to you

-extension cords because you might have a lot plugged in

-darkening drapes, sleeping machines because sleeping is difficult and you become afraid to sleep because covid symptoms often worsen when you sleep

-wash your clothes early on because you could have no energy to do so and can’t leave to laundry mats

-buy mask and gloves

-Mouthwash: good for you and sometimes you arer too tired to brush your teeth

-stools or rolling chairs so you can sit while you do things like brush your teeth

-buy bananas because doctors are finding that many people with covid are low on potassium, which can cause heart beat irregularities (it did for me)

-also buy a large vitamin pill box because you may have to take so many different medicines and vitamins, that you have “covid fog brain” and will forget what you take-you get exhausted

-You might not have energy to eat so also buy some easy to eat or drink things like these smoothies:

Again, before doing any this, see your doctor and ask them.

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