I am a 68-year-old woman, soon to be 69, but like most of you, I am pretty darn spunky with no serious health conditions. At first, when I developed symptoms, I thought it was a flu bug going around—another version of the “Ketchum Crud.” Not unusual in this valley, right?

It took about five days into my illness to realize this was the Real Deal. I trace my exposure to March 6-8, at which time I attended a memorial service at the American Legion Hall packed to the rafters with not only locals, but also folks from Seattle. I was also going to the gym, post office and market.

My symptoms were perplexing at first, as they did not align with the main symptoms being touted by authorities (shortness of breath, fever). I never had noticeable chest constriction, but I did develop a dry, constant cough. Then, on days two and three, I became mostly bedridden with a fever of 101, body aches, fatigue and malaise. Sinus congestion also settled in, though the “stuffiness” was slight and I could still breathe through my nose.

It was day five when I completely lost my sense of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia). Between the fatigue and loss of senses, I had no appetite. I did not qualify for COVID-19 testing at St. Luke’s because I did not have shortness of breath or a long-lasting fever.

It was too bad; I knew of countless other sick folks like me who most assuredly had COVID-19 but didn’t qualify, either. But I realized there were those much sicker and more compromised than me who needed to access the finite number of tests.

Today, I am recovering well and know how blessed and lucky I am to have had a mild-to-moderate case of COVID-19. My sense of smell and taste are ever-so-slowly returning. Occasional walks with the dogs have been a godsend, and I plan on isolating at home for three weeks, or longer if need be.

My heart goes out to all who have been transferred to hospitals, and to the families and friends of those who have passed from this horrific virus.

Cherie Kessler lives in Ketchum and owns Magic Lantern Cinemas with her husband, Rick.

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