Bluegrass utility player Valerie Smith continues to recover at her home near Nashville after a bout with the coronavirus that required two overnight stays in the emergency room.
Smith, 54, became ill two weeks ago, while caring for her daughter and husband after they both tested positive.
“Every day’s a little better,” said Smith, a recording artist, songwriter, producer, videographer and owner of the Bell Buckle record label and Bell Buckle Radio. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I feel bad for the people who are worse off. There are a lot of people who aren’t making it out of the hospital.”
Her symptoms started with shortness of breath, followed by stomach and intestinal issues. The first time she was tested, the results were negative. But her symptoms continued unabated, and a subsequent test was positive.
She retained her senses of smell and taste throughout the ordeal, but needed IV fluids twice in overnight ER visits.
While she can feel herself recovering, she said it’s still a long haul. “My stamina is really dicey. I have good days and bad days physically. I won’t be running any marathons any time soon,” she said. But, she noted, “I’m going to get the vaccine as soon as my age group is eligible.”
Her family members recovered quickly and did not require hospitalization.
Smith said she decided to talk about her experience in case it could help others.
“I want to tell people to keep wearing those masks, wash your hands often, and practice those social distancing recommendations,” she said.
In addition to helping reduce the spread of the virus, she said those steps and growing availability of vaccines will help hasten the day when live music will again ring out across the United States.
“I just want this to be over,” Smith said, echoing a sentiment that is widely shared across bluegrass and other aspects of life we were forced to leave behind nearly a year ago.