May 06, 2021

COVID Diaries - Immunocompromised and COVID-19 Positive

COVID Diaries is a series that I started in order to hear from people in their own words about how COVID-19 has had a huge impact on them, whether it's from working closely with COVID-19 patients, or extremely different work protocols, or having been a patient who was gravely ill, or something else. I think it helps to keep it "real"--for those of us who haven't experienced something like this, it's hard to imagine.

That said, if COVID-19 has somehow had a huge impact on your life, and you'd be interested in sharing your experience in a guest post, I'd love to hear from you! Just send me an email at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. I'm really hoping to hear from someone that works closely with COVID-19 patients--a nurse would be great!--so if you feel comfortable sharing, please do. 

Today's COVID Diaries story is from a woman named Bridgette. When I read her email, my jaw dropped (I won't spoil it, so you'll have to read it in her words). I imagine she is one of very few people who dealt with this particular situation. Bridgette said this is more of a cautionary tale and "certainly not meant to scare anyone, but I think people need to hear about what I've experienced."

So, here is Bridgette's story...

First, I’m a 48-year old single momma to two adult kids (my daughter is getting married in October!) and I live with my 70-year old mother. I had a kidney transplant in January of 2008 and am currently on dialysis while I wait for a kidney to be available. [Donated kidneys last an average 15 years - source]

With my children--Rob and Becca

My immune system is compromised for that reason, as well as from the medication I take to suppress my immune system. With my being immune-suppressed and my mother being age 70, she and I have been insanely careful since we first learned about COVID-19. We actually moved in November and by December, we felt like things were settling down.

We had family over both on Christmas Day and the day after--with never more than eight people in our house at a time. I woke up on Dec 27th with a really bad sore throat but didn’t think anything of it. Monday I had a video call with my primary care doctor who said she didn’t like that I got a sore throat out of nowhere and that I need to get tested for COVID-19.

I got a text from MyChart at 1:04 AM that I was, indeed, positive for COVID-19. Again, I was scared for my mom but also for ALL of the people (in total it was 12 people split over 2 days) that I'd come into proximity with.

Everybody got tested and I isolated in my bedroom. (Thankfully, nobody tested positive.) My mom, who wasn’t feeling great either, would bring food to me three times a day and would leave it outside of my door. I never had breathing issues but was really congested; I lost my voice; I had high fevers at night with some of the worst body aches; and on day three, I lost my senses of taste and smell. 

We got through it and were SO excited in February when my dialysis center had the vaccine available if we wanted it. Hell yes, please!! I didn’t ever want to go through having COVID-19 again. While I got really sick with BOTH the initial vaccine and the booster, it was still totally worth it; I will do it again if needed. 

About two weeks ago, I told my team of doctors that I had been feeling extremely tired, had some gastrointestinal issues and was getting kind of short of breath. All of these things could be contributed to being on dialysis because I’ve experienced them before but she told me to go to the emergency department to get labs done. She wanted to make sure I didn’t have a blood infection or that my dialysis catheter wasn't infected (the tip goes right up to the heart, so an infection in my line would be scary). 

Luckily everything was okay. Well, everything except being positive for COVID-19... AGAIN! I told the emergency department doctors that I had it in January and had the vaccine, so could it be a false positive? They said normally that's exactly what they would think, too, but because I had a negative test in February and two negative tests in March they classify it as a “re-infection”.

He said it’s not common but they’d seen several cases like mine in our area over the last month or so. He said they were sending my test to Albany to be tested for which strain I have because that's most likely why I got it again. It's probably a different strain than the first time and the vaccine may not be as effective against the other strains (the U.K., Brazil and South Africa) as they suspected.

For the record, we were so good at being careful--washing hands, wearing masks, etc., so it came as a total shock that I had it again. Luckily, my mom tested negative after both of my bouts with COVID-19. Also, all of the people who were at our home over the holiday tested negative. Thank God. I was so scared because the people who came were over age 70, with the exception of my 25-year old daughter, my 41-year old sister, and her 2 kids. As soon as I tested positive the second time, I went back into isolation in my room and mom has been leaving food for me three times a day. 

Please, even if you've had COVID-19 and/or have been vaccinated, if you get any symptoms (respiratory, congestion, gastrointestinal issues, etc), do not hesitate to go get tested. Do not feel “silly” or like you’re putting anyone out by getting tested. It’s a lot better to know you have it than to potentially infect others. I just really want people to learn from me because had my doctor not instructed me go to the emergency department, I might never have known--and could have infected a lot of other people.

I am shocked--not only that Bridgette got it twice, but that she got it the second time after being vaccinated! Bridgette, I am so glad that your mom is doing good--and I hope that you are recovering well, too. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

Here are the previous COVID Diaries guest posts, in case you missed them.


  1. So glad she's ok. I'm in the UK and a friend's elderly dad tested positive for COVID twice, once in March last year and once in February this year. He was left with longterm breathing problems after the first bout so was pretty ill with the second too. They're still investigating now, as it's classed as "long covid" now.

    1. Oh no! I hope he’s ok. I, too am having some “king hauler” symptoms but I’m so grateful I never had respiratory issues either time. Thanks for your comment... Bridgette

  2. Thank you for sharing this. There is so much inaccurate information out there. It's good to hear it from someone who is actually dealing with it. I'm sending her all the good vibes too for healing and comfort.

  3. Thank you so much for putting the word out. It's not over yet and we all need to keep being careful. Bridgette, you're such a strong mom/sister/daughter. Thanks for sharing your story. We appreciate it so much!

    1. Thank you so much! I do my best to keep a positive attitude and just take things one day at a time...having more good days than bad now so I’m thrilled! Thanks for your comment-Bridgette

  4. What a story!
    In fact, vaccines are not effective 100%. So you can have COVID even vaccinated. But it lessens the risks of transmission and serions complications.
    Hope the best for Bridgette and her family.

    1. Thank you so much, I appreciate your good thoughts-Bridgette

  5. WOW! Thank you for sharing your story! Your name is pretty cool to ;)

    1. I’ve NEVER seen another “Bridgette” spelled that way! Love it!!

  6. Actually, article just today about studies showing the vaccine is not working well in people who have had transplants :(

  7. I absolutely agree with you and tried to make that point in my story but maybe I didn’t emphasize it enough. The vaccine is very effective and I’m definitely a “special case” because of the immunosuppressive medications. If I was told that I have a high chance of getting covid a second time with or without the vaccine, I would still get it. We won’t ever get back to “normal” life if we don’t get enough people vaccinated (this is just my opinion and respect those who decide the vaccine isn’t for them).

    Thank you Allison, for pointing this out because your absolutely right. Thanks for the well wishes for my new kidney! I can use all the help i can get for looking for a match!


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