LOS ANGELES  – Playing the guitar for her two-year-old niece, Cloe, is one of Tess Lim’s favorite things. Her other favorite thing is being an ER nurse. But both of those things came to a screeching halt after Lim took care of a patient who had come into her hospital with unknown respiratory issues.

“During that time, he was breathing so heavily and coughing that I felt his breath on my face. And at that moment, I thought if this gentleman has COVID then I likely just got it right now,” Lim said.


Four days later, she started having symptoms.

“I had some chest tightness, sore throat and a cough and I would feel dizzy and then I found myself becoming short of breath randomly throughout the day," Lim said.

She had a COVID-19 nasal swab done at her hospital and then she was sent home to quarantine herself and wait for the results.

While there was no way to get rid of the virus the test was useful in determining if she had it.

“I just tried to do the things that are healthy, that are going to boost my immune system. I took my vitamins, drinking all sorts of herbal teas, getting plenty of rest, and eating plenty of healthy food there,” Lim said.

Thirteen days after taking the test, she got the call that she was positive.

What was more shocking than the fact that she had COVID-19 was that she had contracted it while wearing an N95 mask.

“When he coughed on it, I felt it on my face," Lim said. "And so I'm sure that I was inoculated through essentially, my eyes."

She was allowed to go back to work after being quarantined for 17 days and now she is equipped with goggles.

“I just was really excited to get back in there and to play my part. I love my job. I am so proud to be an ER nurse,” she said.

It was the constant support and encouragement from friends and family that helped her endure her quarantine and come back full force.

“Although I was sick and alone, I never really felt like I was going through it alone,” Lim said.

Safely back in work doing what she loves, and back to playing the guitar with a little one she loves even more.