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Kathleen

Indianapolis, Indiana

I tested positive for COVID-19 and initially had the most intense headache I've ever experienced. Within 1 week, in addition to the intense headache, my temperature was 104.2. I was also experiencing shortness of breath with MINIMAL activity.

My primary care health care provider had instructed me to, "Keep an eye on my oxygen level," and go to the ER if my oxygen saturation decreased to the 80s.

Kathleen

I purchased a pulse oximeter and denied the results. I am a Registered Nurse and attributed my poor oxygenation to the oximeter's inability to read my oxygen level through my acrylic nails. My oxygen saturation on room air was 50-60s. I finally accepted that I needed to be hospitalized and was admitted on a Monday.

A CT scan was performed to rule out a pulmonary embolism. Unable to oxygenate, I was placed on 90% high-flow oxygen, and was still unable to maintain my oxygen saturation. The only option to receiving 90% high flow oxygen was to be sedated and placed on a ventilator in Intensive Care.

My admitting physician, Dr. Akaydin, was concerned that I was going to respiratory arrest, and he wanted to transfer me to the Intensive Care Unit to intubate me in a controlled situation. I refused twice because I was afraid that if I was put on a ventilator, I would never come off the ventilator.

Dr. Akaydin and an infectious disease physician told me about the option to receive plasma from other patients who had recovered from COVID-19. I was told that I could receive plasma that had been matched to my blood type.  How long it would take for the plasma to be located was dependent upon my blood type and the availability of donors with my blood type. I was told that in many cases, within 1-2 days of receiving the plasma, the recipient may experience dramatic improvement.

I received 2 units of the plasma late Wednesday night. By Thursday afternoon, my high-flow oxygen requirement had been reduced from 90% to 40% and I was able to maintain my oxygen level in the 90s. By Thursday night, I was told that if my progress continued, I could be going home by Saturday. Friday morning, my oxygen needs had been reduced to 5 liters of oxygen, and by Friday evening, I was on 1 liter of oxygen!!! Saturday I successfully passed the 6-minute walking oxygen test and was discharged to home without the need for supplemental oxygen.

I still become fatigued easily and become short of breath with not a lot of exertion, but I'm ALIVE. One week after my initial admission to the hospital with a diagnosis of sepsis with acute respiratory failure, I'm ALIVE thanks to those individuals who donated their plasma. I'm alive thanks to Dr. Akaydin, to the outstanding nurses (Jennah, Kate, Paige, Lynette) and techs (Roa and “Alex”), but most of all, thanks to God.

If you have survived COVID-19, please make a difference in the life of someone else who may not survive COVID-19 without receiving COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

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