UK alumna documents her COVID-19 battle

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Public Affairs) Lyndsey Gough, a University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information alumna, started out the 27th year of her life by having her world turned upside down.

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The UK graduate had just celebrated her 27th birthday having a drink with friends, after she covered the RBC Heritage golf tournament with WTOC-TV, one of the first sporting events in the country held since March. Soon after, symptoms began.

Gough tested positive for COVID-19 on June 30 and seemed to be recovering well in isolation at home, when she began experiencing severe abdominal pain about a week later.

Hospitalized since July 9, UKNow caught up with the current multimedia journalist and weekend sports anchor in Savannah, Georgia, to talk about her journey battling COVID-19.

UKNow: What made you start documenting your journey with COVID on social media?

Gough: For starters, I live on social media. It is entertainment to me, so if I wasn’t tweeting during my time in the hospital, I’m not sure what I would be doing. But also, as a journalist, I have reported on COVID-19 for months and asked others to share their stories, so as far as transparency goes, I think it’s only fair that I share mine. My hope was that I could help someone by sharing my experience.

UKNow: When and how did you find out you were COVID positive? 

Gough: My last day of work was June 20. I was fatigued, but thought it was from a crazy work week and slept on my days off not thinking too much of it. On June 23, I began really feeling the symptoms: body/muscle aches and chills, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, night sweats, congestion, cough — everything BUT a fever and shortness of breath. I tried to get tested on the 25th, but they ran out of tests and I was finally able to be tested on the 26th of June. June 30th I got my positive results. After two weeks of quarantine, the flu-like symptoms returned along with abdomen pain. When I went to the emergency room on July 9, they re-tested me and I was still positive. During that time I also had emergency surgery. Ultimately, my surgeons tell me that the virus caused so much stress to my body that my appendix ruptured, and a host of other complications followed.

UKNow: Should people be taking the virus more seriously?

Gough: Absolutely. It is real. It’s not “just the flu” and it doesn’t just affect the elderly population or those with underlying health conditions.

UKNow: Have you learned anything from this experience? 

Gough: Be careful — even more careful than you think you need to be, and never take your health for granted. I also learned that way more people cared about my journey than I ever thought possible, which is very humbling.

UKNow: What is your current job and how did UK help you get there?

Gough: Currently I’m a multimedia journalist and weekend sports anchor for WTOC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Savannah, Georgia. UK prepared me for the world of television journalism by giving us hands-on experience and putting us through actual news situations and scenarios. Also, covering the Cats as a student, I was covering world-class athletes early on in my career.

UKNow: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for anyone reading this?

Gough: Take care of yourself as best possible, give yourself time to recover fully and grant yourself grace … and go Cats!

Gough is now home and recovering from her post-emergency surgery after spending 11 days in the hospital. Keep up to date with her long road to recovery by following her on Twitter, @LGonTV, or on her Instagram, @lyndseygough.