Editor’s note: Rio Rancho resident Mary Girsch Bock is recovering from COVID-19 and volunteered to discuss her experience. She is in the high-risk 50-64 age group. She provided an image of the positive test result as verification.

Q: When were you diagnosed with COVID-19, and when did you recover?

A: I was diagnosed at the beginning of November, and I’m still recovering.

Q: Do you know where you contracted it? If so, where?

A: My husband, who was diagnosed a week before me. He has no idea where he got it. We both work from home and don’t really go out much. His best guess is a grocery store, but we have absolutely no proof of that at all.

Q: What kinds of symptoms did you have, and how severe were they?

A: My first symptom was a scratchy throat and a low-grade headache, both of which I brushed off. I think that was my denial phase. My stomach hurt as well. Then I became really tired and had a lot of sinus congestion and some coughing, but it was a productive cough.

Three days after being diagnosed I lost all sense of taste and smell. It was so weird, and made it really difficult to eat, because if you can’t taste anything, what’s the point? Both senses started returning late last week, but they’re not 100 percent back, and a lot of things have a metallic taste to them. I’m hoping that will pass as time goes on.

I’m still tired, still have aches and pains, and I’m ready for this to be over, but apparently, COVID does what it wants, which is what I think makes it so scary. I’ve had several friends who have had COVID as well, but they don’t live in New Mexico, and all of them have had different symptoms. It’s like it seeks out your weaknesses and plays on them like a smart virus.

Q: What did you do to take care of yourself while fighting the virus?

A: I contacted my doctor, who told me to take high-dose Vitamin D3, Zinc and Vitamin C. I also took a lot of Tylenol for my headache and drank a lot of Gatorade and water. I was able to work a little every day except for one, where I just stayed in bed and watched some bad Netflix shows. Other than that, nothing special, but I admit that I’m a horrible patient, and have difficulty being sick.

Q: What advice do you have for others, given your experience?

A: Don’t get it! Unfortunately, that may not always be in your control. The one thing I would tell people who do get it is don’t Google COVID symptoms. It will freak you out!

I understand that the media’s job is to inform others, but the majority of stories on the Internet and on local news stations are about people dying, and people on ventilators.

There doesn’t seem to be a site helpful to those who have a mild to moderate case and want some guidance. Instead, we’re told to watch out for symptoms appearing overnight, within hours, or some other catastrophic event.

That information does absolutely no good to the person who has COVID and only serves to make them even more frightened than they already are. Each day when I woke up, I wondered if this would be the day I ended up in the hospital. It seriously plays with your mind.

The other thing I would tell people is “No, this is not like the flu or a bad cold.” People need to stop listening to those who have not had direct experience with COVID and start believing that it is serious, and that wearing a mask is not a weakness.