Colorado coronavirus patient speaks out, shares her symptoms and story


Lisa Merck is telling her story after testing positive for the coronavirus (KDVR)

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado woman is speaking out after testing positive for coronavirus.

“It’s nothing like I expected,” Lisa Merck said.

Merck spoke from isolation in her Crested Butte home.

“Yes, I have coronavirus. I didn’t go out and get it on purpose,” Merck said.  

The Air Force veteran doesn’t know where she contracted the virus. She hasn’t traveled internationally but recently returned from a three-week trip with her husband to Hawaii.

“We were on buses, trains — we were on planes having fun,” Merck said. “We went to a medical conference over there and on the day we were going to leave, I had little sniffles. That’s it.”

Looking back, Merck says that’s how it all started — sniffles, then a left-side body ache on the plane ride home to Crested Butte, where she is an advanced practice nurse.

“We got back and my muscles ached, my bones ached and my joints ached really bad,” she said. “It felt like someone was stabbing me with an ice pick and I was like, ‘I wonder if I have the flu.'”

Flu tests came back negative. Then, aches were accompanied by nausea. On the first three days of March, fevers started.

Merck called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and her local department of public health as she experienced fevers.

“I told them where we had traveled and they said we didn’t meet criteria. I was fine with that,” she said.

However, Merck didn’t feel OK for days to come.

“I felt really short of breath, I felt very fatigued. Finally, on Sunday night, I told my husband, ‘I need you take me to the ER. I don’t feel well whenever I stand, I feel like I’m going to faint.’”

Doctors at the emergency room said she had viral pneumonia. They tested her for coronavirus and results came back positive on March 11.

During the past few weeks, Merck says she’s probably lost five pounds due to the nausea. She says the muscle aches are the worst but she’s on the mend.

“My biggest things are I’m feeling really short of breath. I’m feeling exhausted but I’m definitely getting healthier.”

Merck is in isolation with her husband until at least March 22 or until she’s asymptomatic. Then, she has to register negative on coronavirus tests 24 hours apart before she’s cleared to be in public again.

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