PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island mother, one of the first diagnosed with coronavirus, has been keeping a video diary.
She was one of the first to sound the alarm about the difficulty getting tested.
Now, she’s looking to the future, with big plans for COVID-19 survivors, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.
Diana Berrent never thought she’d be the first on her block to get what she calls the “plague,” but nearly two weeks later the Port Washington mom is on the mend.
“Listen to that. I’m breathing deeply and not coughing,” Berrent said, demonstrating. “That is such a relief. I cannot tell you to be on the other side of this.”
But getting there has been a frightening roller coaster, a journey she’s chronicled.
“It was a very curt call just telling me that I tested positive, and that was it. I was given new guidance on how long I should stay in isolation,” Berrent said.
One entry saw her say, “My stomach is really, really bothering me. I have an unrelenting headache.”
Then one day …
“For the first day, I actually have good news. I feel better. I really feel so much better,” Berrent said.
But the next day …
“The road to recovery is not necessarily a straight line. It’s kinda like one step forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back,” Berrent said.
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On Day 11, she offered her most personal entry.
“There’s been a lot of crying and I just want you all to take care of yourselves and realize that the mental health impact of this is real,” Berrent said.
She’s now preparing for life as a survivor, offering hope but also warnings.
“I have camped through Africa and Mongolia, and I didn’t even need a single Pepto Bismol. If I can get it, anyone can get it,” Berrent said. “You have to stay home. You have to act as if your already infected and every single person you infect is either your best friend or your grandma.”
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She’s thankful her symptoms required little more than Gatorade and Tylenol, but warns there is no consistent directive on when to safely un-quarantine, and that the recommended two negative tests a day apart is unrealistic.
“We don’t even have enough tests for the people who are really sick who need them and for our first-line responders. We absolutely don’t have enough tests to be giving to healthy people right now,” Berrent said.
But when she fully recovers, she said she has big plans.
“I want to create what will be the Peace Corps of our nation. I want to call it the ‘Survivor Corps,'” Berrent said.
She wants to go back to work and volunteer on the front lines, with immunity.
“We will have super powers. We will be the superheroes and I want to rally that as a force for good in these dark times,” Berrent said.
Berrent’s Survivor Corps Facebook page just launched in partnership with some of the biggest names in social media, biotech, and research.