University of Lethbridge psychology professor Jennifer Mather is recovering from COVID-19.
The researcher was on a conference trip to Denmark at the beginning of March. Now, she is sharing her experience with what she initially thought was just a bad cold.
“All I could do was come home when I planned to come home, which was March 14,” Mather said. “But in the process of coming home, I got to spend five hours in the Frankfurt airport and over eight hours on a completely full Air Canada flight to Calgary.”
Mather says she had typical cold symptoms, but even when those subsided, she was left with minor breathing difficulties.
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She called 811 to get tested for COVID-19, just to be sure, though she didn’t think her symptoms were serious.
“But then, on Monday morning at 7:30, somebody phoned and said, ‘You’ve got COVID-19,’ and they said, ‘Go on into emergency and we’ll check you out,’” Mather said.
“I had a mild case, so I had shortness of breath and nausea. So they basically said, ‘Go home, you’re quarantined.'”
After spending time with her thoughts in quarantine, Mather says she wants everyone to be clear on what this illness is.
“We get lots of worst-case scenarios from New York and from Italy, and COVID is, for nearly everybody, a mild illness,” Mather said. “But it’s not true for all of us and it is really scary thinking of seniors in long-term care homes because they are very vulnerable.”
She says it’s crucial to pay attention to your own symptoms, but also with whom you are in contact.
“Because it’s a minor illness for so many people, it’s difficult to take seriously and people may not even know they’ve got it,” Mather acknowledged.
“That’s where the social distancing comes in. Because the only way we can get rid of this is by staying away from each other and not passing it on.”
Mather is recovering well and remaining in self-isolation until she has confirmation that she is no longer contagious.