MOORHEAD — A former student here, now a registered nurse in St. Paul, is on day 12 of her recovery from COVID-19 and finally feeling more like herself.
Mackenzie Hedge, 23, a 2018 graduate of Concordia College, said she’s a healthy person who took precautions and still contracted the disease.
It’s why she shared her experience in a Facebook post.
“I think it’s important to just be transparent about the whole thing,” Hedge said, during an interview with The Forum from her home in St. Paul.
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Hedge wasn’t out “partying on the beaches or out for St. Patrick’s day” before she got sick, and had only been to work and to get groceries, she wrote in the post.
She had no known contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19.
She had seen stories about people ignoring the warnings as the coronavirus pandemic was gaining a foothold in the U.S.
“I feel like I need to apologize for my generation just for not protecting other generations and other people as much as they could be,” she said.
Hedge, a native of Monticello, Minn., works as a registered nurse in a cardiac step-down unit at United Hospital in St. Paul.
Her symptoms began Sunday, March 22. She felt weak, tired and lightheaded, and could hardly get out of bed. She had a slight fever that rose later that day.
The next day, she felt worse with hot flashes and chills and her temperature spiked to 102.4 F. She noticed a rash on the back of her leg.
On Tuesday, March 24, she made note of body aches and congestion. Her heart and breathing rates were elevated.
At some point, she also noticed a strange symptom that others with COVID-19 have reported.
“Everything smelled either metallic or I couldn’t smell,” she said.
On Wednesday, March 25, she went to be tested for COVID-19, and getting there was a real struggle.
“The minute I got into my car, I felt so nauseous. I hadn’t been outside of my room or even out of bed for more than a couple minutes to get food or use the restroom. Made it there and back, probably shouldn’t have driven but had no one to take me” she wrote on Facebook.
She found out two days later, on March 27, that she was positive for COVID-19.
Then came numerous calls with the Minnesota Department of Health and her employer, asking who she’d been around since her symptoms began.
“Thankfully, only three people,” Hedge wrote.
She makes note of several oddities: that her symptoms would come and go throughout, and she didn't have a sore throat or cough until further into the illness.
She described the cough as "feeling like there is water in my lungs.”
Hedge did have shortness of breath, a common COVID-19 symptom, which magnified on a day she was starting to feel better.
“I put a mask on and some gloves on and I tried to go for a little walk, just on the sidewalk by our house and . . . it was really bad,” she said.
Hedge looks forward to being well enough to go back to work. One guideline is that she goes 72 hours with no fever, without medication.
She advises people to wear a mask if they go out, keep their distance from others and wash their hands.
“Just do your part and try to prevent this spread from getting worse,” she said.