CNN news anchor Brooke Baldwin opened up about the physical and mental turmoil she endured as she fought the effects of the coronavirus in a new personal essay, saying that the novel disease “took a full two-week beating on my body” but also taught her an important lesson on “the gift of connection.”
“It took a full two-week beating on my body. I went to some very dark places, especially at night. Evenings would bring on an eerie melancholy, which was particularly odd for me — a glass-half-full/chemically blessed kind of gal,” she wrote in the op-ed.
“On the darker days, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. After days of trying to stay physically apart from my husband, it just became impossible. He hated to see me suffer and he couldn’t not take care of me. He began to hold me in those darker moments and let me cry, whispering: ‘Everything’s going to be all right.’”
Baldwin tested positive for the virus on April 3, three days after fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo announced he also tested positive. Baldwin discussed how she slept up to 12 hours at a time while fighting the virus, spending the first couple of days isolated from her husband and dealing with constant body aches and a loss of taste and smell.
“I was fighting constant body aches,” she wrote. “In the evenings, I started a habit of climbing into the bathtub for 45 to 60 minutes just to try to use the hot water to distract my skin from the all-encompassing ache that would begin in my lower extremities — the kind of ache that only two extra-strength Tylenol could eventually dull. Looking back, my sense of time feels warped and inexact. Some days crawled by tortuously slowly, while others disappeared unaccounted for in my memory, lost in the wash of emotion, sleep, and illness.”
The column included candid photos of Baldwin dealing with the disease, slumped across her bed and sleeping with her dog.
“Some days crawled by tortuously slowly, while others disappeared unaccounted for in my memory, lost in the wash of emotion, sleep, and illness,” she wrote. “My husband and I began sleeping in separate bedrooms and using separate bathrooms. He did his best to bring me soup, toast and tea, without making too much contact. The food didn’t matter much to me because I couldn’t taste or smell anything anyway.
Despite this, Baldwin considers herself “one of the lucky ones” as the virus did not attack her lungs, a severe symptom of the virus that has forced millions of infected people around the world into intensive care units and onto ventilator systems.
“I know hospitals are overwhelmed with patients — and nurses and doctors have been working tirelessly doing hero’s work. I am glad I did not add to their stress. And most of all I am grateful for the reminders this virus provided: First, that clarity comes from being quiet and listening to our feelings. And second, that connection is more vital to our health and happiness than we might care to admit.”