Brandi first thought she had the flu when she came down with a pounding headache and fatigue. After all, she didn’t fall into the high-risk category for the novel coronavirus. However, a persisting 102-degree fever and worsening symptoms said otherwise. After testing positive for COVID-19, she immediately got treatment at home from a virtual care team from Atrium Health. This is her recovery story.

Coronavirus Updates | 5 months ago

“This Can Happen to Me Too”: A Healthy Mother’s COVID-19 Recovery Story

Brandi first thought she had the flu when she came down with a pounding headache and fatigue. After all, she didn’t fall into the high-risk category for the novel coronavirus. However, a persisting 102-degree fever and worsening symptoms said otherwise. After testing positive for COVID-19, she immediately got treatment at home from a virtual care team from Atrium Health. This is her recovery story.

UPDATE: After 28 days symptom-free of coronavirus disease, Brandi Rabon donated her plasma to OneBlood in Charlotte help others who might be critically ill. 


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has swept through the world in a matter of months and is still shrouded in mystery. Medical professionals are working tirelessly to find better ways to treat this illness and learn more about it.

While this virus usually presents more aggressive symptoms to high-risk individuals, many people are beating this illness and making full recoveries. Among them is Brandi Rabon, a vibrant mother in her mid 40s and a recent COVID-19 survivor. After receiving care from a virtual care team from Atrium Health’s COVID-19 Virtual Hospital, Brandi has fully recovered at home in 13 days. Here is her story.

The Beginning of Brandi’s Battle

On March 18, 2020, Brandi woke up with an excruciating headache and felt nauseous. Thinking it was a seasonal virus, she took some Advil and took the day off from her work-at-home job.

She soon developed a fever that spiked to 102 degrees and lasted for 36 hours. She also had no appetite and experienced body aches, chills, and uncontrollable shaking. On the second day, she developed a slight cough for a few hours but no shortness of breath. She assumed she had the flu until she found out that a church friend tested positive for coronavirus.

After receiving this news, Brandi called her sister, Carmen Teague, MD, who is an internal medicine physician with Atrium Health. Dr. Teague recalls her first impression of the situation:

“Everything she told me about her symptoms that week sounded like the flu — then she found out she was exposed to someone who was COVID-19 positive. I told her she needed to be tested.”

Brandi had her testing scheduled and drove to the testing site at Atrium Health Union on March 21. The next day, the Mecklenburg Health Department called her and said she tested positive. She was given orders to be in isolation for 7 days and then quarantine for 7 days. Her family was also to be quarantined for 14 days.

A Solid Care Plan — From the Comfort of Home

Brandi’s case was deemed mild enough to allow her to stay home and recover with the help of a virtual care team from Atrium Health’s COVID-19 Virtual Hospital — landing her in familiar care territory.

Her family is no stranger to Atrium Health. Not only is her sister the medical director of internal medicine at Atrium Health, but her daughter is a cancer survivor of Levine Children's Hospital.

Through the telemedicine portal, Tamara Hill, a physician assistant (PA), closely monitored Brandi’s condition. Brandi also spoke with several nurses over the course of her illness. The team would call and check on her every 24 hours at the onset and then every 48 hours after her condition improved. All of them were thorough in their assessments and compassionate to Brandi’s needs.

“When I had an unusual symptom (a rash), Tamara did the research to see if it could be COVID-19 related and came up with an appropriate treatment plan… I am very thankful to the Atrium Health team for the excellent care I received,” Brandi said after reflecting on her recovery.

Atrium Health’s COVID-19 Virtual Hospital was rolled out at a rapid pace to meet the growing health needs of the community. There are currently 20 to 30 providers that help COVID-19 positive patients with symptoms mild enough to recover from home.

Taking It One Day at a Time

Initially, the care team focused on relieving her headache and extreme fatigue. Then, over the course of two weeks, Brandi reported gastrointestinal issues, a complete loss of smell and taste on day 6, and a worsening headache on day 9. With each new development, the team adjusted their treatments to relieve these symptoms.

Brandi stayed in her bedroom 90% of the time, taking great care to not inhabit a room with the rest of her family. Using proper precautions, her teenage daughters and husband gave her food and water and coloring books to keep her busy. To keep her distance, Brandi communicated to her family through text messages and a bell.

To Brandi, it wasn’t just a physical trial, but it was a mental one. In fact, loneliness was the hardest part for her. She credits part of her recovery to the amazing support she received.

“I was blessed to have a wonderful support system through my friends, family and church community which I believe is key to a successful COVID-19 recovery. The physical toll is high but so is the emotional/mental health toll. Having people to check in on you and talk/text with you was very important for me.”

The COVID-19 Virtual Hospital also asked Brandi about her mental health during each checkup call. If Brandi had needs in this area, they gave her information about behavioral health. This helped her cope with the equally challenging mental battle associated with beating COVID-19.

And thanks to her diligence in following the instructions that Brandi received from her care teams, nobody else in the house caught the disease while Brandi received care at home. Dr. Teague credits this to how everyone followed strict isolation rules.

Out of The Woods

After 13 days, the worst was over. Though still tired, Brandi returned to working from home. Even after the symptoms dissipated, her body needed to build up stamina after her long fight against the virus. As she gradually gains more energy, she understands that patience is key, especially since normal tasks like showering can still be exhausting.

Brandi acknowledges that this was the sickest she had been in her adult life. Her advice to us?

“Listen to your body. Your body must fight it because there is no treatment.”

Being a healthy, low-risk person, the virus still “kicked her butt”. Brandi wants people to find balance and respect the disease since it’s still tough on a healthy person.

Overall, Brandi is grateful for her recovery and the slow return to normal. “I was able to hug my family after 2 weeks with no physical touch late last week. That felt wonderful.”

Dr. Teague remarked about how her sister’s COVID-19 case gave her new insights on the pandemic.

“It really altered my perspective because my sister was not high-risk. It made me realize the importance of social distancing. She was in a group of people that was still considered safe at the time and was exposed by someone that did not have symptoms, so goes to show how important it is to stay home — even if you aren’t sick.”

Meanwhile, Tamara and the rest of the team with the COVID-19 Virtual Hospital continue to help mild to moderate COVID-19 patients recover through virtual and at-home visits.

“It gives me and everyone a lot of hope to know that patients are getting better, that while the numbers are growing, there are a lot of people who are recovering from this illness. With every patient we learn more about how this virus presents and how we can direct them in care. It’s great she’s back to work and it’s reassuring that I can tell future patients, with the help of the COVID-19 Virtual Hospital and the community, most people will recover and get through this…at home.”

Brandi’s story has a new, exciting chapter unfolding. As a COVID-19 survivor, her body developed antibodies to the virus that can help others recover successfully.

“Thanks for the opportunity to share my story. I am grateful for the excellent care Atrium Health provided. I look forward to donating my plasma to help critically ill COVID-19 patients. I am praying for our healthcare heroes daily — thankful for all of you!”


Learn more about Atrium Health’s initiatives to care for COVID-19 patients at AtriumHealth.org/Coronavirus