"The fear is real and so is the virus."
Those are the words of a Dallas hospital administrator who recently battled COVID-19.
Claire Aldridge, the Associate Vice President of Commercialization and Business Development at UT Southwestern, detailed her journey in a powerful blog post in an effort to educate people about the virus.
She said her and her family had just boarded a plane to New York on the same day in March when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.
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"If our flight had left three hours later, we wouldn't have taken it," said Aldridge.
"The entire world changed and the world we landed in was different than the one we had left."
The family made it back to North Texas, where all three battled the illness at home.
"While this was one of the top five sickest I've ever been in the 50 years I've been alive, the fear that was around it… when you would read the stories of people just like you, who weren't surviving," said Aldridge.
"There was a morning, where I was just honestly in tears, cried to my husband, saying 'I don't think I'm ever going to feel good again.'"
Aldridge said it took about two weeks to feel like herself again and that's when she decided she wanted more to come out of her ordeal.
She donated her antibody-rich plasma and wrote about her entire journey.
"I think that also makes it real to people. When you, someone you know, who is your neighbor or your colleague who's had it, and you can ask questions. I had an opportunity to educate people and share my story."