Lori Trainer isn’t sure how she contracted COVID-19, but she knows when: she came down with a slight headache and chills on March 18th and 19th.
Curiously, Trainer felt better the following two days. But starting on the 22nd, the Greenville resident developed a sore throat and lost her sense of taste and smell. Still exhibiting those same mild symptoms the next morning, it was her daughter’s condition that raised the alarm bells for everyone in her home.
“My daughter had woken up that morning with a 102 fever with body aches and chills. So I immediately called the doctor,” said Trainer.
Already Trainer and her family were in quarantine, a group of seven that included children from Los Angeles and New York who returned to Wilmington to be with family and work remotely. Because her daughter is currently a resident of New York, she could not be tested in Delaware.
So Trainer’s physician ordered a coronavirus test for Lori, directing her to St. Francis Hospital the same day, where she took part in a drive-through process on the 4th floor of the parking garage.
“Everyone thought my test would come back negative because there were so many more negative tests than positive tests coming back in Delaware at that time,” she said.
But five of the seven in the household were already experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms. Only the oldest, a 58-year-old smoker with other health conditions suffered the most extended effects of the virus, including fever, fatigue and intestinal symptoms over the course of 12 days.
One of the teenagers had a fever and leg aches for 24 hours. Two family members never had any symptoms of the virus.
Trainer and everyone in her household stayed put for three weeks following her test on March 23rd. The results confirming her diagnosis didn’t arrive until April 3 – 12 days after her visit to St. Francis.
“I got tested for all of us,” said Trainer. “It’s unclear how we were all infected. My daughter attended a wedding earlier in March where a couple of people afterward came down with coronavirus symptoms. And others told us colleagues at work had the virus. But it really could have come from anywhere,” said Trainer.
Trainer says her last symptom was on March 30 – a little bit of heaviness on her chest. The Coronavirus never really knocked her out. “I never laid down and took a nap, I never missed cooking. I occasionally had a glass of wine. I was never that sick – I never had a fever. So I just kind of just fell off a little bit for about a week,” she says.
Even though her primary care physician said she could leave her house seven days after her symptoms first appeared, Trainer opted to follow the CDC and Delaware Division of Public Health guidance that she should quarantine for 14 days following her last symptoms.
Trainer said once her self-quarantine period had ended, she reached out to the Department of Public Health to offer her blood plasma for use in combating the disease in others.
“I just figured since I’ve been down this road, and if there are others who have tested positive and needed medical support, maybe my plasma donation could help,” she said. “We were really fortunate in our family that we all got through it without any incidents and no hospital visits. We were lucky.”
The theory is that after patients have recovered from coronavirus, their plasma still contains antibodies that the immune system developed to fight the disease, which can be donated to others.
The Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) is calling for any recovered COVID-19 patients to donate blood plasma and will maintain a bank for hospitals to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
A single plasma donation has the potential to help up to four patients with COVID-19.
Trainer, who works as a real estate agent for the Mottola Group of Long & Foster, says while everyone in her home has recovered, the five who had symptoms would love to have access to COVID-19 antibody testing.
“Because people in my home for those three weeks would like to know if they did have it, and they weren’t tested. We are 99.9% sure they did have it, but having that test would give us peace of mind that we are carrying the antibodies,” she said.
Trainer also has another business she started called HomeRx, where she offers home organizing, helps people pack to move, or assists homeowners with estate sales. And she also has just started grocery shopping and running other errands for others who would rather avoid the stores.
“The real estate world has felt the impact of the quarantine as much as any other sector. So I thought maybe I could use my love of grocery shopping and the fact that I have recovered from the virus in some sort of way,” she said.
She is also happy to volunteer her HomeRx services to help the elderly or individuals who can’t hire help but are still fearful of going out.
Trainer still sports her mask everywhere she goes. But she says she no longer fears going out in public places because she is no longer contagious and has developed antibodies to the disease.
“We’re thankful now. We’re just trying to look at the bright side of this. Now that we know we’ve had it and are fortunate they were mild cases, we don’t have to worry so much,” she said.
Feel free to reach Lori Trainor about HomeRx at Loritrainer2000@gmail.com.