Thousands of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, better known as Novel Coronavirus, and GENERAL HOSPITAL actress Paulina Lule (Valerie) took to social media to share her own personal experience with the disease. “For about a week, I had a slight tightness in my chest but no other symptoms,” she explained on Twitter. “I went to my doctor who tested me for the flu and it came out negative. We both attributed it to anxiety. I quarantined as much as I could.”
Although only leaving the house for essentials, Lule found she’d locked herself out of her apartment on March 23 and had to go to a nearby locksmith to be let in. “People that know me know I’m generally a fit person,” she said, “but when I tell you that two blocks of walking winded me… I couldn’t catch my breath for the rest of the day. When that lack of being able to breathe continued into Wednesday, I called my doc and she told me to go to the ER.”
Once at the hospital, Lule became concerned when the ER nurse informed her that after her boyfriend, Ren, had finished parking the car, he wouldn’t be allowed in to see her. “Panic starts to set in,” she confided. “It’s even harder to breathe now. I had been reading stories all day about how people had been separated from their loved ones because of safety and then never saw them again. Was ‘I’m gonna go park the car’ and ‘Okay’ the last things we spoke to each other in real life?”
She knew she was overreacting, but all the stories had gotten to her and she began to hyperventilate, making the situation worse. “They tested me for everything but COVID-19,” Lule reported. “All hospitals (unless you’re rich, apparently) have to follow CDC regulations for testing for COVID and they do not deviate.” The tests for flu and pneumonia both came back negative and the doctor admitted that while they can’t confirm she had Coronavirus, she very likely did, so act accordingly. “They gave me a prescription for an albuterol inhaler, prescription Tylenol, and prescription-strength cough suppressant and sent me on my way.”
Although Lule said that she is one of the milder cases of the virus, “this is still the sickest I’ve been in over a decade.” The next day, after a fitful night of barely being able to sleep for fear of not waking up again, the actress was relieved that while she didn’t feel much better, she didn’t feel any worse. “I was debating whether or not to share this because it felt oddly self-serving, and my case is ‘mild,’ so who cares, right?” she mused. “I eventually decided to do so because when I would tell friends and family who checked in on me they said my experience clarified some things for them, too.”
Lule urges everyone to have a plan for the possibility of you or a family member coming down with the virus so you won’t stress out the way that she did. You can read her Twitter thread detailing her entire experience by clicking here. And for more from your favorite GH stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
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