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Testing positive: A radiology resident’s perspective on recovering from COVID-19

korbin davis, md

From testing results and unique symptoms to the rising number of deaths and life in self-isolation, news related to COVID-19 has captured TV screens, newspaper pages and the minds of people around the globe. Amid a swelling amount of information at everyone’s disposal, it can be crucial to focus on the experiences that can offer hope.

Second-year resident with the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine, Korbin Davis, MD, was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. He answered some questions about his experience with symptoms, quarantine and how to maintain emotional well-being during a pandemic.

When did you begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19 and when were you tested?

After I got home from work at 5:30 pm on March 25 I noticed the first symptoms: headache and some muscle soreness. However, by 7 pm it turned into a fever. I called the IU Health virtual hub and chatted with a nurse who said I met the criteria for a test. Late the next morning, I was able to get the test and by the evening of March 27 I received my positive results. Over the next five days, I felt a scattering of symptoms, including fever, chills, headaches, night sweats, muscle soreness, and the loss of taste and smell.

What’s it like to be impacted by a virus that’s on the world’s stage?

Surreal. It’s hard for me to pinpoint where I may have gotten the virus, as there were no cases known at University Hospital (where I was working) and I hadn’t been out in public for a number of a days.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve been quarantined in my room and isolated from my wife and 15-month-old daughter. It’s been emotionally taxing, but all the more reason to stay aware of those who have recovered from this virus. I know it’s fatal for a portion of the population, so I’m ready to move through it so I can get to the other side of reuniting with my family, friends and colleagues.

What are you doing to maintain your emotional/mental wellbeing?

Fortunately, there’s a big bookshelf in my room, as well as access to America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’m able to still join in with noon conference on Zoom, which is an excellent communal get-together for radiology residents. I also stay connected with a lot of friends and family via texting, which has been rewarding to maintain during this time.

Is there anything new you’ve discovered about yourself or something you’ve uncovered from others throughout this experience?

If anything, this has reinforced the people who are in my life. Everyone who knows I’ve tested positive has reached out to see what they can do to support me and my family. So many have stepped up when it mattered most to me, affirming that no matter what I do or may need I’ll always have support from my friends, family and radiology colleagues.

What advice would you give to people who test positive for COVID-19?

With the scope of the disease and maintaining strict quarantine, it’s so easy to have a limited focus or become depressed due to small interaction with the outside world. Using technology to bridge the gap between you and loved ones is so important. Anything you can do to stay connected with your support system—however you can and as much as you can—is so crucial in times like this.

You’re still recovering from this disease, but how would you sum up your experience?

It’s unlike any other illness that has come around, and it really knocks you down for a significant amount of time; I’m just now starting to turn a corner. It can feel very overwhelming, especially with the consistent mortality data out there that we read daily or see in the news. But this is the time to remind ourselves that there are a lot of people recovering. If this does come to your doorstep know that more often than not, your support system will step up and arrive like never before.

Learn more about IU School of Medicine's response to COVID-19.

Coronavirus Response

Editor’s note: Korbin Davis is a second-year resident at IU School of Medicine. On March 25 he began to experience symptoms of COVID-19. He was tested for the virus on March 26 and received his positive test result on the following day, March 27. He informed all individuals with whom he had contact since receiving his positive test.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Em Collins

Communications Coordinator

Having joined IU School of Medicine in 2016, Em uses a poetry and theatre background to help bridge the academic world with the creative. A graduate of University of Evansville, he works with faculty and academic staff to formulate unique, marketing idea...