lac du flambeau wisconsin groceriesCovid is no daydream. More like a nightmare. That’s how Carmen Potts describes her bout with coronavirus. Went to bed fine, she says, woke up having a hard time breathing.

Within a day, Carmen was on her way to the hospital.

“It felt like I was having an asthma attack,” Carmen recalled. “For me, it felt like an elephant sitting on my chest.”

The hospital sent her home with an inhaler to help open up her lungs. She sat at home awaiting her covid test results. One sample went for a rapid review and the other for a more extensive review at another lab. One test came back negative in a day. The other test result came back positive the same day. She sat at home for the next 14 days. Quarantined.

Mostly she slept. Her asthma flared and head ached. No fever. No flu-like symptoms. Non-stop coughing attacks all day were the norm. Not as bad as some, but bad enough to be scary, she says. After her fourth or fifth day, she wanted to get back to work at the LDF Country Market. But she could not return to her role as pricing and receiving coordinator, so not to get others sick.

Carmen wore a mask at home to protect her family. She let others know she tested positive for covid, so they could take appropriate action. Carmen stayed in her room most of the 14 days to limit exposure to family. She ate in her room and isolated. She had virtually no contact with her family, even though they live in the same house. She was so diligent she even communicated by text message within the house.

“It’s important for me to take every precaution to protect people,” Carmen says.

In a heroic move, she even sent her children to live with relatives to separate them from potential exposure to covid.

Carmen is not a germ-a-phobe by nature. But covid has changed the way she approaches things. She carries hand sanitizer and face masks wherever she goes. She believes physical distancing helps too.

“Mask-wearing by everyone and physical distancing decreases the chance it will spread to you through the air,” Carmen says. “It makes sense when you think about it. It may not be perfect, but if you can do some small things to help others, it’s worth the effort.”

Rejoining The Team

There were some who were leary about being around Carmen when she returned to work at the LDF County Market.

“For most of my teammates,” Carmen says, “they were fine and glad to have me back.”

They asked lots of questions about her experience with covid. She was glad to share what she went through, including the mountain of paperwork waiting for her when she got back, she says with a laugh.

Now she feels back to her normal, spritely self, she jokes. But her outlook on life has changed.

“Until someone gets sick with covid, they really don’t know what it’s like,” she says. “There’s people who think covid isn’t real. But I assure you it is real. If you think you might have been exposed to covid, go get tested.”

“I definitely pay more attention to what I’m doing because I don’t want to be a carrier who gets someone else sick,” Carmen says. “I’m going to do my part to slow the spread. I realize there’s no perfect solution, but I will be doing what I can to help.”