German mom infected with coronavirus uses Twitter diary to update world on her condition

Karoline Preisler is one of some 7,300 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Germany, a country with a population of 83 million.

Lonely, frightened and unwell, Preisler, a 48-year-old mom of three children from a small town in northeastern Germany, turned to the Internet for information from other patients but didn’t find many firsthand accounts of living with and fighting the virus.

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So she decided to share her experience on Twitter, where she has more than 5,500 followers.

Using the hashtag #coronatagebuch, German for #coronadiary, Preisler has given frequent updates on her condition.

She posted photos of herself with hollow eyes and her lower face masked, images of cleaning staff in protective gear removing contaminated clothes from her hospital room and another selfie showing her receiving oxygen through thin tubes in her nose.

She also wrote intimate tweets about how she was doing emotionally -- sometimes well, sometimes not so well -- at a time when people around the world worry about the virus but know so little about how COVID-19 can play out on a personal level for someone who has it.

“Dear #coronadiary, today is my second day ... I am ill, the lung is like a big lump. I am whimpering like a whelp. The father will take over family life long-distance via Videochat. Corona is mean, bye,” Preisler said in one tweet.

On Twitter, she sometimes relayed the latest developments with a grim sense of humor.

“Dear corona diary, here’s a positive approach ... somebody who cannot breathe well saves food. It’s too exhausting [to eat]. My fitness tracker is proud of my weight loss. Welcome hip bones, that I could live to see you again,” she wrote on Day 2 of her account.

Preisler said she received positive and encouraging responses to her social media posts from all over Germany and Europe and from as far away as Winnipeg, Canada.

Preisler, who practices law and is a local politician in the Baltic Sea town of Barth, started experiencing symptoms a few hours after she tested positive for the new coronavirus last week. Her husband, a federal lawmaker, had tested positive earlier and been told to remain isolated in Berlin, 186 miles away.

The couple’s 9-year-old twins and 11-year-old tested negative, but health authorities ordered the children quarantined at home with their mother.

On the day after she tested positive, Preisler suffered from shortness of breath. She and her children marked off areas of their home with tape to create a makeshift isolation ward for mom while leaving the rest of the house to the healthy kids.

Preisler was too sick to cook so the children took over the kitchen, making waffles topped with lots of powdered sugar and browsing cookbooks for recipes.

Friends went grocery shopping and dropped the bags off in front of the family’s home since no one was supposed to go inside.

“They brought us lots of potatoes,” Preisler said. “So right now, the kids are into making potato chips.”

When Preisler’s symptoms worsened and she needed to be hospitalized on Saturday, her husband was permitted to go back to Barth to care for the children.

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“I miss my children so badly. They miss me, and we all miss that we can’t hug each other anymore,” Preisler said in a phone interview on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.