ATHENS, Ga. — Cindy Nason and her family were doing everything they could to keep from getting sick.
The 59-year-old and her husband Gary kept a strict regimen once they learned about COVID-19 in March.
“My husband stocked up the closet. My husband started washing our money, when he went to the grocery store, he wiped everything down.”
The couple stopped going to the gym, eating out, seeing friends, and wore masks and gloves anytime they left their home, which was rare. Gary did leave the home to go to work.
But on July 19, Cindy and Gary both started to have what they described as a small cough.
“Sunday I had a small cough, Monday I had a fever and then Tuesday, I lost my taste and smell,” Cindy remembered.
A few days later, both she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19.
A week later, Cindy was in the hospital, not only battling the coronavirus, but pneumonia as well. The day after she went into the hospital, Gary’s symptoms “hit him like a ton of bricks."
"He was home alone, screaming in pain," she described. "It affected him differently. His muscles were attacked. He had a fever. Wasn’t eating.”
Gary, who has mild high blood pressure, also developed pneumonia.
“He had viral pneumonia, which you can’t really treat," Cindy explained. "So, when he went to the ER, they gave him painkillers and sent him home.”
While Cindy and Gary were struggling, their daughter and son-in-law also tested positive for COVID-19.
“My son-in-law ended up in the hospital, the day after I went into the hospital,” Cindy said. “We got sick from each other, I think.”
And during all of this, Cindy was worried about her two young grandsons; she was with one of the them the day before she started experiencing a cough.
“That was the thing, my daughter was freaking out! Because we all had COVID and I was with him.”
Both young boys, ages 7 and 2, were fine and never experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.
Cindy left the hospital after a few days, but she and her husband still had weeks to go before they felt like themselves again.
“We both felt like we were 90," she remembered. "People were bringing us food, we slept all day, just trying to recover."
During this time, Cindy decided to write down everything she and her family experienced in a blog style post on Facebook. She detailed everything from their symptoms, to what happened at the hospital, and the fear her family dealt with as they tried to get better.
“I needed to,” Cindy began, pausing for a few moments, “get it out of my head. The mental and the emotional weigh heavier than the physical.”
She said the most fearful part was the unknown - waiting in the hospital for results, and not knowing if things would change for her and her family in an instant.
“I’m in the hospital bed thinking, 'if I have a clot in my lungs, I’m going to die.' So, I’m thinking we have a will, that’s all set. And you think about the kids," she recounted. "Gary shared with me, that he was here, and he was alone and thinking, ‘I’m going to die, and my family’s going to come in here and find me.’ And when I heard him say that, I was devastated."
Photos: Nason family battles COVID-19
Cindy said she also created the blog, which details different procedures healthcare workers performed at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, to give others peace of mind if they end up in the hospital.
In the following weeks, Cindy said she and her husband recovered, but still have lingering effects. Cindy shared that her vision is blurrier and she is experiencing “brain fog,” where she forgets things mid-sentence. Both are still fatigued from time to time. Her husband recently headed back to work and her daughter and son-law-in are feeling fine, as well.
Despite everything, Cindy said she’s grateful her family recovered, and added the hospital staff went above and beyond to take care of her.
“Shout out to the healthcare workers.”
Still, Cindy said she’s not breaking any of their strict routine, just in case.
“We haven’t changed anything. We’re still not going to the gym, we’re doing things the way we have. We’re not seeing friends, we’re not going out, nothing," she said.
She’s also seeing her grand-kids for the first time since contracting the virus. Cindy said they visit in the backyard from afar, with Cindy wearing a mask at all times.
Cindy's blog was also featured on an independent journalism website, Flagpole, titled My Family Got COVID, Here's What It's Like.