Hamblin: You say one thing because you have had diabetes and lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. You're no stranger to symptoms of various illnesses, so you’re very in touch with what is normal for you and what is not.
Plunkett: Right. I never, ever get headaches. Never. And the headache was constant for about 10 days. Then I got fevers, and that lasted for two weeks. My husband slept next to me with a thermometer and all night long, he’d be like, “Take your temperature.” I’m like, “Come on, stop this crap.” He’d be like, “No, you gotta take your temperature. I’m worried about you.” Sure enough, he would take it and it would be like 103 degrees, and then I would take Tylenol and it would go away. That went on for two weeks. So I called my doctor up and she did one of those things on the computer, telemedicine or whatever it’s called, and she sent me a Z-Pak.
Hamblin: Your doctor assumed it was just a typical infection and didn’t tell you to do anything differently than how you would normally handle a cold?
Plunkett: She said I shouldn’t go to a hospital, because it’s dangerous with all of the germs, so I stayed home. Then they did another telemedicine thing over the computer and I told them I didn’t feel any better, so they had me come in for a coronavirus test. The doctors came out in their hazmat suits. It was pretty funny, looked like something out of a movie. Then they stuck these things up my nose. I felt like they were going to stick my eyeball out. It really hurt. The test went all the way behind my eye, or at least it felt like that. The next day, they called me to say it was positive.
Wells: Were you surprised? Did you think you might have it?
Plunkett: No, I really didn’t think I had it.
Hamblin: Why did you not think that you had it? Jake seemed to think you had it.
Plunkett: Jake did, but I said, “How can I have it? I haven’t left the house.” I was doing everything by the book, washing my hands, walking around with a mask on. So I figured what are the chances of me having it? Now I’m scared. I’m like, “Oh my God, I got the coronavirus.” I said to the doctor, “What do I do now?” They said, “Just stay home and do what you’re doing unless it takes a turn for the worse and you can’t breathe.”
I talked to the doctor at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon that day. At 10 o'clock, I was in the hospital. That’s how quickly it turned. My husband and daughter said they watched me throw my body on the kitchen table and I was gasping. I just couldn’t breathe. My husband’s like, “You got to go to hospital. I’m like, “No, I’m not going to the hospital. They told me to stay at home.”
Hamblin: You didn’t want to go because your doctor told you not to?
Plunkett: No, I didn’t want to go because I was afraid.
Wells: What were you afraid of?
Plunkett: Being put on a respirator. By the time I got to the hospital, I was completely out of it. I was making no sense. I really didn’t know where I was. It’s like I was on another planet. My blood oxygen was 79.