I SURVIVED COVID 19 • Interview with Latesha Dennard & her experience on the frontlines of New York.
First off thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions about your time on the frontlines in New York City during COVID19.
1. I wanted to start with who you are , where your from, where you got your degree and how long you’ve been in the medical field?
I’m LaTesha Dennard. A free spirited country girl from Sunbury, GA. I
graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from Armstrong
Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA (now called Georgia Southern
Armstrong Campus). I have been in the medical field for 13 years. I worked as
a patient care tech for 2 years while in nursing school and for the last 11 years
I’ve worked in Emergency Medicine, Pre and Post op surgery, and home
2. Is nursing something that you always wanted to do ? And if yes or no, why?
Nursing is not something I always wanted to do. Until my sophomore year in
high school, I wanted to be an attorney. I wanted to help the underserved
community. After having this epiphany that I did not want to go to law school, I
was uncertain about my future for a period of time. My father worked at the
local trauma center as a supervisor in the shipping and receiving department
for years, and he suggested nursing school. I went with his suggestion, and
later realized it was my calling and I saw how my experiences over the years in
caring for my great aunt who lived with my family, was molding me to be a
3. During your time in New York can you tell us how the system of dealing with COVID19 patients was? Was it affective or did it needed to be reworked ?
My experience as a ER nurse working during the covid crisis in NYC was quite
overwhelming. I worked at the epicenter of the pandemic at a hospital in
Queens. I believe that the hospital was affective with the physical capacity and
resources that they had. I’m accustomed to the chaotic environment of the ER,
but covid was on a much larger scale than what you’d experience in the
average day to day of a trauma center. PPE (personal protective equipment)
was provided daily to staff and there was not a shortage of it at the facility I
4. When you contracted COVID19 what was that process from when you first found out, to when you were totally cured?
I felt ill after working 17 days straight in NYC. I woke up one evening to prepare
for my night shift, and felt generalized body aches and chills. It was odd to me
that I was experiencing these symptoms as I’ve worked numerous assignments
in the past where I would work 10-20 plus days in a row. I took Tylenol and
went in for my shift. It was not until I was ending my shift the following day,
that I measured my temperature and it showed I had a low grade fever. I
returned to my hotel after my shift and saw the medical staff in occupational
health that was on site through my agency. In addition to a low grade fever,
body aches/chills, I had an elevated heart rate. I immediately quarantined
myself and tested positive for covid a few days later. My treatment plan
included holistic remedies such as steaming and drinking ginger, orange peel,
apple cider vinegar, and lemon along with drinking echinacea, elderberry, and
peppermint tea. I also restarted my vegan journey the day my symptoms
began and continued my regimen of a multi vitamin, vitamin C, and zinc. I was
prescribed an inhaler after developing chest pain and shortness of breath with
exertion. I could not walk from my hotel room bed to the door without feeling
worn out. My quarantine period in NYC was 11 days and after my symptoms
improved, I flew home and continued to quarantine an additional 14 days.
Once home, I developed a secondary viral infection, but tested negative for
covid 16 days after my initial covid test.
5. What would you tell people who are skeptical about COVID being over hyped in the media? Also what is your reaction to those who won’t follow social distancing and mask rules?
I would tell people that are skeptical that the covid virus is real. I am a healthy
woman with no major underlying medical problems and I contracted the virus.
I saw healthy people my age who did not survive. I’m truly thankful that I’m
able to tell my story as a covid survivor. More people survive than those who
succumb to covid, but that does not negate the fact that it should be taken
seriously. Lots of prayer, holisitc remedies, a plant based life style, proper
hand washing, and social distancing were my saving grace to getting through