When Alicia Garcia woke on Nov. 12, she says she thought she was simply suffering from heartburn.
“Probably within an hour or two, something just took over my body. It felt warm, and then I started to run a fever and then I started to get achy,” Garcia said.
The next day she tested positive for COVID-19.
A few days later, she couldn't breathe and was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Medical City Denton.
“I just want people to know this is serious. Take this virus seriously. You don't know how it's going to affect you,” she said.
It's something the 52-year-old admitted she didn't do.
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Garcia said she's always been healthy and active, but she thinks her immune system may have been weakened from recent stress.
From her hospital bed Saturday, she said she was a couple of days into treatment with convalescent plasma and remdesivir.
"It's all in my chest. There's so much fluid built up in there that they have to turn me to my left and to my right and to my back to relieve some of the pressure on my lungs," Garcia said.
Though it’s difficult to see from the outside looking in, Garcia sad she believes she is improving.
As she does, she’s sharing her story in hopes it will convince at least one person to do what they need to stay safe.
“Take care of themselves, take care of the people around them. This is a really hard and painful virus,” Garcia said.
Saturday, the DFW Hospital Council reported 2,345 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across North Texas. Patients suffering from the virus accounted for approximately 40 percent of ICU beds.