A Grand Prairie mother of three is back home from the hospital Thursday after a 17-day fight with COVID-19 and her message to you: do not let your guard down.
Lucky for her, an unapproved but promising treatment may have saved her life
From her hospital bed, 47-year-old Kali Fields-Dobbins documented her journey through COVID-19, the disease she last expected would impact her.
"I thought I just had a cold. I thought it was just a respiratory something, not COVID-19," said Fields-Dobbins.
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She said as businesses started to re-open, she ventured out to a restaurant and a nail salon, wearing a mask when she could.
Days later, she lost her sense of taste and smell, then suffered a headache and then a fever. It worsened from there.
"When I got out the bed, it felt like someone was kneeling on my chest. I couldn't breathe. I was panting. It was an experience I never want to experience again," said Fields-Dobbins.
Doctors at Arlington Memorial diagnosed her with COVID-19 but they also had a potential weapon in their arsenal: the drug Remdesivir, one of the few promising treatments under trial review for COVID-19.
"I signed the paperwork. Within three days, I noticed a difference," she said. "The nurses were laughing when I said, 'I can smell you guys! I can taste my food.' It might be small to them but it was enormous for me."
Also enormous was her send-off by the hospital staff, whom she said became her angels.
They even coordinated a visit through her hospital window by her 18-year-old daughter on her high school graduation day.
It was another moment she was able to document even though it wasn't as she expected.
Still, she said she's grateful and hopes others take coronavirus seriously.
"You have to protect yourself. Just protect yourself because you're not only protecting yourself, you're protecting your family from the virus."
Fields-Dobbins has to stay in isolation inside her home for at least one more week. She said no one in her family experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.