Quality, Emergent COVID Care from Brookings Health System
Hi, I'm Rina Reynolds. I live here in Brookings, South Dakota. I'm with the South Dakota State University Foundation, and I get to help amazing people make a difference for South Dakota State University.
Describe your first COVID diagnosis in 2020.
It was almost so subtle if I didn't occasionally use an inhaler for asthma, I probably would've missed it. I tend to bike a lot, I tend to spend a lot of time very active, and when I had this moment where I felt like, "Oh, I feel like I should use my inhaler." I thought, "Well, that's odd. It's December." I shouldn't have any environmental allergies right now. And so within two days, I got a positive PCR test, which is very conclusive. Already though as soon as I was testing, I started isolating in my own home. And then as soon as the positive test came, we actually, and our family made a decision. My husband and son who were still living at home, my husband's always living at home, but we moved him to a motel because they were both tested, clear, and negative and we wanted to keep it that way. And it was a significant inconvenience and an expense to put my husband and son in a motel, but it kept them safe. And they're both musicians and that lung capacity issue is something we're taking incredibly, incredibly seriously. My illness was not bad at all, but I knew I was contagious and my bigger concern was keeping other people safe.
When was your second COVID diagnosis in 2021?
I had been vaccinated in April of 2021 and I honestly felt a little bit bulletproof, but as the summer expanded and students came back to campus, and we started having more events here in Brookings, I actually started wearing a mask because I started hearing about breakthrough infections. And I'm very high contact with people through the university and my work and I'm very fortunate that I spend a lot of time with a lot of older people. And I was very concerned that I might become asymptomatically contagious so I wore my mask through Hobo Week and I worked at lots of events. But the Monday after I started feeling really tired and I had that tight feeling again in my lungs and a girlfriend had a test kit for home and I asked she said, "You wanna use it?" And within 10 minutes I knew I was positive and the PCR confirmed it, and I isolated again, and my husband went back to a motel.
What was your second COVID diagnosis like?
It was harder the second time. It was a very different experience. I did feel sick. My symptoms began in earnest on that Wednesday. I felt all respiratory, but it didn't seem like I was getting better. And so I called into my physician's office, Dr. VandeKop, and I said, "It's Thursday now, I don't seem to be getting better, and everything I'm taking over the counter doesn't seem to be helping. What do you think?"
Why did you receive a monoclonal antibody infusion?
The infusion was actually recommended by my physician. I wasn't really looking for that, I didn't know if it was something that I would be eligible for. I think even two weeks before my infection, it was still for people 65 and older. So I had an opportunity where suddenly I became eligible and I'm so incredibly grateful because it clearly made a difference and I am a true believer in science. I believe in vaccines. I believe in the research and development that is helping make people better, and I'm so grateful I was one of those who benefited.
How did you feel following the infusion?
But after the infusion, I probably had been a little dehydrated so they gave me extra fluids. I felt really energized right afterwards. I was thinking, "Wow, I feel better." And then I developed a slight fever, which I had read about in advance. I'm a little bit of a science geek, and I wanted to know what to expect. And I realized the benefit of getting that fever meant that now my body was starting to respond to fight the COVID. I am not one who takes naps, but I did lay down for a little while in the afternoon and just rested and read a little bit, but overnight and into the next day, I didn't feel much different except that my symptoms immediately started to resolve. I wish that would be the case for everyone because within 24 hours, even less than, it wasn't simply that I felt better, I felt normal. My coughing was gone, the fever was gone, the head cold feeling, the congestion, it was all resolved. So, I really believe in the outcomes of using that infusion and if it's offered to people and available, I highly encourage that benefit.
How do you encourage others in our community to stay safe from COVID?
I don't think of myself as someone who has preexisting conditions, but with an asthma condition, I manage it, but it does have the potential to become dangerous very quickly. Many, many people have invisible ailments and existing conditions we may or may not know about. And I would really encourage everyone to prioritize getting their vaccine, getting boosted, supporting others in doing the same, and really encouraging people to be educated and protect themselves and others around them. It's not just the people you care about, it's everyone.
What did you appreciate most about your care?
What I love about Brookings Health System is it's made up of people of our community. Dr. VandeKop, who is my physician is a band mom like I was at Brookings High School. Our kids we're in marching band together. People in every department are people we see at the grocery store, that we know through, you know, clubs and organizations and churches. It truly is a community health system. A city like Brookings investing in health care for its people, and the people of our region is unique in our nation and I think it's an incredible asset and truly a gem for all of us. And sometimes we take it for granted. I hope that everyone realizes what a benefit it is to have local health care of this quality and caliber right here in town.
Are you one of Brookings Health System's grateful patients who would like to give back to us? Learn more about how you can give back at brookingshealth.org/MyThanks.