Nurse Tova Yellock says that even though she has COVID-19, she still doesn’t regret her role on the front line of health care.
“I’m a health care worker, so I sign up for this,” she said. “I signed up to be on the front lines, and I just ended up getting it [COVID-19].”
COVID-19 “is not a joke. It’s not a game, especially if you have underlying issues. Wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask.”
Yellock, 35, has been a nurse for six years. She has worked in various places, often unhappy with conditions she has seen, but in the past half a year has worked at a skilled nursing facility she loves.
On Friday, Aug. 7, “I knew I was sick. I just hadn’t got all the way sick yet,” she said. She stopped working immediately.
She only felt like she was “coming down with a cold or something,” but there was cause for concern: not just from the coronavirus pandemic, but also from the fact that she has lupus.
Lupus “is an autoimmune disorder that affects your joints,” she said. She also has fibromyalgia, which causes pain.
Over the weekend, “I had the general malaise just because of my underlying illnesses,” she said.
On Aug. 11, she went to the hospital, where she was tested for the flu, strep and the coronavirus.
The coronavirus test came back positive on Aug. 13.
“I have breathing problems. That’s the main thing about it with me. Because of my health issues, the breathing is horrible,” she said.
She is on oxygen therapy, with oxygen at home to help her breath more deeply when she needs it. There was a point she was using it quite a bit, and she has been cutting back lately.
She hasn’t had much coughing, but she has “chills. I break out in sweats.”
The body aches are unbelievable, like being stabbed with ice picks, she said.
“One day I wake up and I’ll feel normal, then 2, 3 hours later – boom, I’m sick again,” she said. “It’s weird like that. It’s the weirdest virus I’ve ever had in my life. It’s the craziest thing.”
She can’t taste or smell anything, but she feels the textures of food while she eats, she said.
“I’ve been scared this whole time,” she said. “Especially earlier in the week I was scared. I couldn’t breathe good, couldn’t smell, was dizzy, had no coordination, was falling.”
Someone sick with COVID-19 needs regular help with the most basic of functions, she said. “You cannot do this alone.” She is being well taken care of by her husband, Johnny Yellock, she said.
As well as tending to her needs, he is doing all the parenting for their two daughters, 2-year-old Kailyn Yellock and 4-year-old Milan Waller.
By maintaining a strict quarantine in her bedroom, she has kept the virus from the rest of the family, she said.
She mostly stays in the couple’s bedroom, while her husband sleeps on the other end of the house. She constantly wears a mask, and she wipes down anything she touches with bleach wipes.
“That’s how I am keeping my family safe – along with my amazing husband,” she said.
One of her friends, Michelle George, created a Facebook fundraiser for her.
“People wanted to help me in some way,” Yellock said.
The fundraiser is titled “Tova Yellock COVID 19 Fundraiser.”
“My sweet Friend Tova Yellock has COVID 19,” the fundraiser description reads.
“She is a hard working nurse. She loves her job and her residents so much. She has a wonderful family as well.
“If you can imagine having COVID is scary. She is very sick at home on oxygen therapy. She is in need of donations.
“If you do not feel comfortable donating money then please consider buy gift cards to grocery stores. Even Walmart gift cards. …
“Listen, she has been front lines since Day One of this. Never taking off. Please consider helping her. At least share this fundraiser. Thank you so much!” The fundraising goal was a modest $300.
“I’m not trying to be that person that’s just wanting more and more and more, whether I need it or not. I’m not that person,” Yellock said.
That $300 would have been around the amount to cover about a week without a paycheck. However, Yellock since has learned that she’ll miss more work than that.
She’s receiving some financial assistance while she’s not working, she said, but it won’t cover the all the time with no paycheck – even though bills and expenses still keep coming in.
Yellock said she is sharing her story because she warns people to take this disease seriously.
“The COVID can affect your whole family,” she said. “Wear your mask. Be careful.”
However, as medical experts say, wearing a mask is more for the protection of other people around than it is for the mask-wearer: “I wore my mask every day … and still ended up contracting the virus,” she said.
“With that being said, it’s important for everyone including yourself to wear a mask, to keep one another safe as well. A person who is not wearing a mask can give it to someone who is wearing a mask.”