Maureen Ogle and her husband had traveled to Rome for their long planned, nine-day trip. They arrived on February 23rd, just two days before the COVID-19 outbreak began.  On February 25th, the Italian government announced the virus’ arrival in the country.

**Listen to our full conversation with Maureen below**

This wasn’t a good for Maureen (66) and her husband (79). One has a chronic form of cancer, and the other has a lymphoma in remission. According to the CDC, the two most affected groups are those 65 years old or older, and those who are immunocompromised.

Rome had yet to be impacted by the virus, so they decided to stay in the city until they were otherwise told.

The couple returned home to Ames, feeling fine, on March 4th. The next morning, Maureen woke up with a cough, sneeze, sore throat, and headache, but no fever. She figured this was the "jet-lag" everyone talks about.

On day four of feeling sick, she woke up from a nap feeling miraculously better. That didn't last long, some days she felt okay, some she didn't.

Finally, on March 13th Maureen decided it was time to get tested. She explained her experience.

At 10 a.m., I wrote my doctor a note, using his clinic’s online message service. At about 11:30, he phoned. He had already spoken to the clinic’s epidemiologist, who urged him to test me, and contacted the state lab for permission to test.

At 12:30, he called again. Permission granted. He would meet me in the clinic parking lot, appropriately haz-mat-suited, and take me through a back door to a room readied for my test. In that way, we avoided the lobby, patients, and staff.

He administered two tests, one for flu, one for COVID. Filament tube twice down each nostril, once for flu, other for virus. (Side note: The test hurts! I wasn't expecting that.)

The swab would travel 140 miles to the state lab. We’d know something by Monday. We elbow-bumped, he went back to work, and I went home to rest. It was about 1:30.

Her doctor thanked her for contacting him before coming in, so he was able to lay everything in place instead of having to deal with the repercussions of having brought the virus into his office with no precautions being taken. The doctor told Maureen he was assuming she had the virus.

He also told me that he assumed and expected that I would test positive. Despite my lack of fever and a wracking, hard cough, he said, I otherwise “presented” classic COVID symptoms. He added that my four-day post-travel “cold" was likely the onset of my COVID-19 encounter; I was thus about seven days into its trajectory.

Maureen said the doctor stressed that 85% of people contracting the disease will have a similar case to her, and won't need medical care or hospitalization.

Check out our talk with her.


Read more of Maureen's experience at the Des Moines Register

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