Our teams have been working hard to provide care to our thousands of members across the country, keeping them updated on the latest information we have around the novel coronavirus, how to keep themselves and their families safe, and caring for those members who are sick with COVID-19. Our members’ health is our top priority, and we are grateful to have brought our medical services online earlier this year, which has allowed us to seamlessly help our members during this difficult time. (We’re now available in almost 50 states!) Hear directly from some of our members in their own words about how we’ve been able to help with their recovery from COVID-19.
My symptoms started with mild dry cough, terrible headaches, and a fever up to 103.4F. The nurse practitioner (NP) from my primary care provider (PCP) office told me to stay home, take Tylenol for fever, rest, and hydrate. My husband had already tested positive days earlier, and since we live in a studio apartment, it was obvious that I was infected with SARS-CoV-2, too. Three days later, it felt like I was coughing my lungs out, and I called my PCP again. After over 30 min trying to connect through the telemedicine system that the office just implemented, I ended up “being assessed” via telephone by the same NP. I provided all of my vitals including oxygen saturation levels to this NP for her record. (I am a physical therapist and was able to keep track of these numbers throughout my illness.) They ended up prescribing Albuterol and Robitussin, but I was barely able to use the inhaler—I was choking when trying to use it.
Two days later I chose to go to the ER. My oxygen saturation was down to 94% and even 92% at times, and I had an elevated heart rate, ongoing coughing, and low-grade fever. I was promptly seen by a doctor, told my lungs were clear after they listened to them, and had an X-Ray taken. The doctor never returned to discuss my chest X-Ray, but a nurse discharged me with “Bronchitis due to COVID-19” and a prescription for cough syrup with Codeine. (Later, I looked back at the notes from my ER visit and discovered it said I had pneumonia.)
This was a long nightmare. I have never been that ill in my life, filled with uncertainty and despair. I sent a message to my Parsley Health doctor, Dr. Darcy McDonnell , over the weekend letting her know my husband had tested positive and informing her about what I was going through. A prompt email came back from Parsley from a covering physician with general information on COVID-19. The next day, I was laying on my belly, coughing hard, with shortness of breath, able to make only short sentences, when Dr. McDonnell’s call came out of nowhere as a blessing. She was very concerned about me after receiving my email.
Dr. McConnell immediately prescribed me a new supplement protocol. (I wish I would have contacted her on the first day of symptoms!) She and my health coach Helaine Schonfeld have been in touch with me daily during that most beautiful week of recovery. That third week of my illness was an ongoing uphill experience, starting to feel better day by day. We already discussed my supplements protocol for the next month and a visit with Helaine is to be scheduled soon. It’s a good feeling to be part of the Parsley Health community. My renewal just kicked in, so I know I am in good hands for another year.
When I started to have symptoms associated with coronavirus I messaged my Parsley doctor, Dr. Lilli Link , right away because my mom had already been diagnosed with COVID-19 and we were in the same house. I heard back really quickly from her, and she immediately suggested we try to get my oxygen saturation reading through a pulse oximeter app so she could determine where my levels were at. At the time, testing wasn’t available, but Dr. Link determined I likely had it and advised me to stay in isolation. She checked in with me every other day and I let her know any time a new symptom arose.
Her tips for how my family should quarantine were really helpful—understanding that 6 feet of distance isn’t always effective, helping me navigate what to set up in our NYC apartment that was safe and practical, and identifying what disease shedding vs recovery looked like, and when I could go out again. She also identified supplements and medications I could take and which prescriptions I needed to temporarily alter because they might be exacerbating my symptoms. Eventually, I was able to get tested and my test results came back positive for COVID-19.
Usually, we can ask a doctor “Is this normal?” and chances are they either know the answer because they’ve seen other patients with it, or they can easily go into medical literature and find the answer. But with COVID-19, doctors are having to go on instinct because there is so much we don’t know. I really appreciate that Dr. Link was honest with me about what she knew and what she was able to take away from the limited research available, but she was also open and shared her vulnerability.
When we were communicating about the best treatment for me, she didn’t just copy and paste CDC guidelines—she referred me to the source she was gathering her information from and then interpreted it for me, adding her unique medical viewpoint. In all of the anxiety and uncertainty we are facing, it was reassuring to have a doctor who was balancing the uncertainty with their expertise. Having her monitoring my symptoms was huge for not just physical recovery , but emotional recovery.
It is a stroke of luck that I had just signed up with Parsley shortly before the coronavirus hit hard. When I first started to feel very sick, I suspected that I may have COVID-19. My symptoms were originally cold-like—blocked sinuses, runny nose, massive headaches. After a few days, I had high fevers, night sweats, and a difficult time breathing, plus pressure in my lungs. I was very scared and felt like I was spiraling downhill. During this time, I was in touch with my PCP several times, who advised Tylenol, rest and even suggested hydroxychloroquine, which I was uncomfortable taking. Eventually, I got a referral to the ER for testing and blood work, which confirmed I had the virus. They also discovered white fogginess in my respiratory tract and that the bottom of my lungs were slightly collapsed. Despite this, I was told not to worry.
I knew something wasn’t right—I contacted Dr. Aubre Weber at Parsley and she immediately went into action. She called my PCP to discuss my symptoms. Dr. Weber believed that based on her understanding of the trajectory of the virus that it was important for me to get more blood work to monitor my organ function due to the massive internal inflammation the virus can cause. (The cytokine storm). Dr. Weber insisted I go immediately back to the ER for another X-ray and blood work. The ER sent me home, but then called the next day to say I had pneumonia and should have been admitted. During this time my PCP never even followed up with me to see how I was doing.
Dr. Weber was totally on it, though. She had me get a blood oxygen meter to watch my blood oxygen levels and pulse rate. She had a sense of urgency in following my blood work and oxygen levels and checking in with me throughout the day. Dr. Weber went over every lab with me in detail so I understood what she was looking for. She also prepared me for how long the fever and night sweats may last and what symptoms I should be looking out for. I have never in my life had a medical professional take such an interest in my health and well-being. As new information came out to the medical community about COVID-19, Dr. Weber was on top of it and kept me informed.
Dr. Weber really saved my life. Her constant attention and monitoring got me through the virus and she is getting me through the aftermath of the virus too. I am not only indebted to her for her timely and knowledgeable medical advice and attention, but also for her kindness and genuine interest in my well-being.
I’ve been a Parsley member for over 2 years. It is really important to me to build a relationship with my doctor and to be able to ask a lot of questions, and I am able to do both at Parsley. I contacted my Parsley doctor, Dr. Darcy McConnell , immediately when I started to feel sick. Beatriz Rojas, the nurse practitioner on call, got back to me right away, explaining the guidelines for COVID-19 testing . In New York City, where testing was so limited, if you weren’t severe you couldn’t get tested.
At the time, everything you were hearing about COVID-19 was so specific about dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, but I was having a myriad of symptoms—sinus congestion, chest congestion and discomfort, headache, body aches, sore throat, and earache. Dr. McConnell recommended I act as if I had it and to update her and stay in touch regarding my symptoms.
With Dr. McConnell, I always feel like I am being listened to and supported. I am treated with respect and understanding, and I know that I can share honestly and openly about what I’m feeling. Specifically with COVID, I wasn’t dismissed just for not having the “standard” symptoms in the beginning. (Eventually, I also had a fever that got up to 101F.)
Every step of the way Dr. McConnell or Beatriz were available to answer my questions and help me monitor my symptoms. I’ve had a pattern of starting to feel a little better and then going backwards, which can be scary. I asked Dr. McConnell “What is my barometer to decide if I need to go to urgent care or not?” She was able to help me figure that out and recommended that I get a pulse oximeter to measure my oxygen saturation levels. She told me exactly what to look for, and knowing that I could check those numbers to monitor myself made me feel less stressed.
It has made a huge difference for me from a worry and stress factor to know that I could reach out to Dr. McConnell. There were so many question marks , especially in the beginning, and you were being bombarded by so much information in the news. With the support of Dr. McConnell and the Parsley team including my health coach, Kelly Johnston , I was able to navigate it all. While I’m still recovering, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my doctor and health coach on my overall health, and to feeling and being truly healthy and strong.