This Woman’s COVID-19 Experience Still Haunts Her

Chilah Harper is a mother, a full-time nurse tech and a student. One day, what she thought was just the flu became dramatically worse. Now in recovery, she’s still dealing with the trauma today.

It’s March 31st. Chilah Harper has been in the hospital for nine days.

Chilah looks into her phone’s camera and brushes her fingers through her long, dark brown hair. A face mask sits on her chin and above that she’s wearing a big smile. 

“I just want to show you guys my room because I beat COVID-19 and I’m going home!” Harper screams on a video provided to 101.9 WDET. “The nightmare is over.”

Click on the player above to hear Chilah Harper’s COVID-19 journey, featuring videos she recorded at the hospital.

Courtesy Chilah Harper
Courtesy Chilah Harper

A month earlier, Chilah was busy as usual. She’s a mom, a full-time nurse tech at the John D. Dingell V.A. Medical Center, and, to top it off, is going to nursing school. 

“I’m always busy. I’m on the go. I’m working. I’m taking care of my patients and I’m studying at the same time,” Harper says. But on March 16th, Chilah’s life was interrupted when she started getting sick.  

The illness came on without warning. At first Chilah thought it was the flu. 

“My temperature was 103. I had terrible body pains from my neck, my fingers,” she recalls. “Even when I walked the soles of my feet would hurt and it was just horrible from the beginning.”

“I still get very emotional at times. I still have mental trauma from it.”

But then it began getting worse. Chilah got tested for the coronavirus at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and stayed at home waiting for the results. Six days later, she started having trouble breathing. 

“It just felt like someone had their hands wrapped around my neck and was cutting off my air.”

A little more than a week after leaving the hospital, Chilah says she’s still working to process what she’s gone through. 

“I still get very emotional at times. I still have mental trauma from it,” Chilah says. “Just being afraid all of the time. Afraid that I might catch the virus again, afraid that I may still be shedding the virus. And I’m still suffering from the physical trauma behind it also.”

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  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.