What started out as a small cough and a slight fever, led to Yorkton's Kathy Ziglo fighting for her life in the ICU after contracting COVID-19.

Ziglo, who's 47, is a multi-championship-winning Saskatchewan amateur golfer. She said her partner tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, November 21. Ziglo herself had a slight cough but tested negative the next day. Her health kept deteriorating, however, and she experienced a loss of appetite, along with aches and a fever. She then went to get tested again on Tuesday - this time struggling to even get to her car.

She tested positive.

After beginning to experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, along with her existing symptoms, she decided she needed medical attention.

"I had no energy. I was coughing, severely dehydrated and it was determined that I should call the ambulance and head to the hospital on Saturday. By the time they came - my oxygen levels had started to tank. I didn't have any feeling in my extremities, my feet, and my hands. I was struggling to breathe. They had tubes in my nose and an oxygen mask, and at the time said they were providing me with 100 per cent plus of oxygen, but my levels were still dropping."

Ziglo was immediately transferred to the ICU. A nurse told her she would have to be intubated and that she had a few hours to prepare.

Intubation is a medical procedure that involves the insertion of a tube through the mouth and into the patient's airway. It is done so that the individual can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing.

"For the next 48 hours, I counted 8 screws, and breathed. I never slept, I never closed my eyes. I counted screws. I spoke to no-one. I had one job. To breathe."

"Everything was going so quickly; I just didn't understand what was going on."

"There were these two pieces of paper on the wall and each had four screws holding them up, so I just started counting 'one breathe, two breathe, three breathe'. I just kept going around and around, and within two hours my stats actually went up 10 per cent. I asked the nurse if I could have more time before being intubated. So, they checked my vitals and for the next 48 hours. I counted these eight screws. I didn't sleep. I just stared at the wall."

"I was scared. All of my energy was going into literally learning how to breathe. I would get caught up and I wouldn't be able to take a breath, I wouldn't know how and I was gasping, choking. Things were getting very dire, very quickly."

Ziglo remained in the ICU for a few days, until her condition improved enough to be moved out. 

Ziglo says she took the threat of COVID-19 seriously leading up to her diagnosis, but at the very beginning there was some skepticism.

"I'm not going to debate masks, but it's the easiest way to protect yourself. I don't even know why people wouldn't wear one. At the very beginning of the pandemic, it reminded me back to SARS where you'd see someone in a mask and think it was a bit much, but I got over that pretty quick. I know leaving this hospital, I will not go anywhere without my mask."

"If the opportunity presents itself to get the vaccine, I will be standing at the front of the line."

Ziglo was discharged from hospital on December 9. 

Ziglo's room where she is currently in isolation until her re-evaluation in a few days