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LYNN — Stacey Graciale, 31, endured nine of the sickest days of her life last month. Yet she feels blessed.
“I am extremely blessed,” she said, talking about her battle with the COVID-19 virus at the end of April. “I was not in the hospital. I was not intubated. I’d say that for me, I had a ‘mild’ case of this — though if it were simply the flu, it wouldn’t have been a mild case.”
The day she came down with the virus began like any other.
“I got up, took a shower, and felt fine,” she said. “I worked for an assisted living facility in Danvers, and we wear masks, gloves, and all kinds of protective gear. The residents were on one floor, and I was on another.”
But at 10 a.m. that morning, she began feeling “weird.”
“I told my manager, and he said my eyes looked watery,” Graciale said. “I took my temperature and it was 99. I didn’t think
much of it, but I took it every hour after that, and it kept getting higher. Then it got to 101.1, and my manager sent me home.”
She went to her mother’s, also in Lynn, where her fever increased throughout the day. She called the Lynn Community Health Center but was told to stay home from the hospital because in the off-chance she did not have the virus, “I didn’t want to catch it at the hospital,” she said.
The next day, with her temperature having risen to 104.1, she got a quick test on Buffum Street and the Department of Health informed her the results came back positive.
The next nine days were horrendous, she said.
“My fever went up and down, up and down,” Graciale said. “I was at my mom’s, in my own bedroom. My appetite was gone. I had a fever, and a cough and shortness of breath. I felt like I had bronchitis.”
“It was something I wouldn’t wish on the devil,” Graciale said. “I was never so sick.”
She said the coronavirus did not feel the same as the flu.
“It was really bad,” she said. “I knew that being young I had a better chance of survival, but I didn’t know if this was going to get better or worse. I was fearful. I just kept praying to God that I wouldn’t die.”
Finally, she started feeling better. Still, on May 11, she was tested and the results came back positive. It wasn’t until Thursday that she found out she was finally negative.
She said she learned plenty from the experience.
“I feel like it’s really important for people, even if they don’t have symptoms, to stay away from others,” she said. “You could still give it to people. You just never know whether you have it. You can test negative and still end up getting it.”
She doesn’t know how she even got it.
“I protected myself at home and at work as much as I could,” she said. “My fiancé is a germophobe. You just never know. Sometimes, whatever you do is not enough. It’s really, really contagious.”
Graciale feels Massachusetts jumped the gun in opening up for business again.
“I disagree with that,” she said. “It’s way too fast. It’s been 2 ½ months. I think that’s way too early.
“I just think it’s crazy,” she said. “Why would you take a risk like that?”