BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In late November, my wife Aliece and I were hit with a respiratory illness that was so bad we both wondered if we would recover without going to the hospital. We could not breathe lying flat, had fever, chills, and a severe cough. My wife also lost of sense of taste. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with what they were calling a virus that was hitting folks hard. We both tested negative for flu. This sickness was different than any flu I had experienced. I ended up losing my voice along with everything else and having to take off work. I didn’t feel much like working anyway.
Aliece ended up going to the doctor three times before she finally recovered. She has a work from home job and felt too bad to work. The effects of this illness lingered for about a month. We were tired and had a lingering cough. The recovery was slow. We had commented, unaware of what we actually had, that this illness could kill someone who had a weakened immune system or had other ailments.
Aliece is a Registered Nurse and was still puzzled about this illness. Prior to getting sick, we had flown down to Florida in our airplane for an extended weekend. About six days later we got sick.
Fast forward to March and the news of Covid-19 is making headlines. The symptoms sound exactly like what we had. One of our physician friends had mentioned a rash of flu negative, but very sick patients coming in with a respiratory illness in early Winter. Of course, we wondered if this is the virus we caught.
We had an antibody test for Covid-19 when the tests came out. The test was specific to SARS-CoV2 antibodies. The results came back and at first we thought it was a negative test because the antibody values were very low. Aliece consulted with other medical doctors in her circle and even called the lab in Florida that processed the test. The low numbers were the result of us having the illness months prior. A recent exposure often yields higher numbers. Aliece and I had similar values indicating that our exposure occurred at the same time. There is one other school of thought that must be considered. Was the illness in late November a coincidence and we were exposed later and were asymptomatic and this resulted in the lower antibody values? This is something we may never know.
It is unclear if having COVID-19 antibodies means you cannot be infected again. Scientists do not have those answers.
For now, we continue to take the same precautions as a person with no Covid-19 antibodies.