When actress and musician Laura Bell Bundy woke up on March 12, she had a fierce headache, immediately attributing it to a hangover after a night of drinking at an event. But she didn’t have a hangover — she had coronavirus.
Before the virus hit, Bundy had been working on a women’s history sketch comedy pilot for Freeform and the television show “Perfect Harmony.” Her theater career — which she had developed on Broadway through “Legally Blonde The Musical,” “Wicked” and “Hairspray” — was put off indefinitely due to the shutdown, and now, she had symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
To cure her headache, Bundy immediately took Tylenol and it subsided, so she attended her weekly acupuncture session. Her doctor took her pulse and said it was “floating.” She sent Bundy home with viral support herbs that the doctor and his partner had been developing since December. The next day, Bundy had a sore throat and chills. Three days later, she had tightness in her chest, signaling that it might be time to consult another doctor.
“The doctor said, ‘I’m going to go ahead and get you tested for coronavirus,’ and I believe that the reason to test me was because I had a preexisting heart condition, so it put me at high risk as opposed to your average person,” Bundy told Variety. “That was March 20, and over the weekend I didn’t have any symptoms, so I thought, ‘I’m a hypochondriac, I’m hallucinating, I just have acid reflux, that’s the feeling in my chest. I must be crazy.’ And then on Monday morning he called me with the result, that I had it.”
After Bundy was diagnosed, she received a call from Pasadena Public Health asking about her symptoms and where she had been. After she talked to them, she still felt the tightness in her chest and severe back pain. She decided to head to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena to get an X-ray on her lungs.
“They stopped me at the front door. There was a little stop sign and the automatic doors opened and there was a woman inside at the reception desk. She yelled, ‘Hello, what are you doing here?’ And I was like, ‘Well I tested positive for COVID-19 and I’m here to get an X-ray.’ She was like ‘Don’t go any further.’ And the guy at the front was like, ‘Here’s your mask to go over your mask,'” said Bundy. “They took my blood pressure, they took my temperature, they took my oxygen levels all at the door before I walked into the hospital. They got a room ready for me before I walked in. I went from going outside to directly into a room within five minutes. There was not a single soul in the waiting room.”
When she got into her hospital room, the nurses showed up in full hazmat suits, took blood work, and administered an EKG test. Luckily, she didn’t have lung damage.
“They were so on it, this hospital was amazing,” said Bundy. “My nurse had a sense of humor because he was in a hazmat suit and looked like Darth Vader and he was like ‘I am your father,’ making jokes like, ‘I know I’m gonna get this, it’s just a matter of time.'”
By this point, it had been three weeks since she tested positive, and she went back to her Chinese medicine doctor who said she was experiencing “a post-viral response,” oftentimes considered to be more painful than the virus itself. The doctor at Universal Family Wellness Clinic gave her “harmonizing herbs,” and Bundy said she thinks this Eastern method saved her life.
“The reality is that the combination of the Western medicine which was my X-ray, my blood work, my EKG and my actual testing for COVID-19, with the combination with the Eastern which is the herbal that they’ve been using for thousands and thousands of years, when there’s no cure for this, that was a perfectly harmonized situation,” she proposed.
Bundy, her husband and her infant son have now all tested negative, and she has started getting back to her life making her album “Women of Tomorrow” and a video series called “Womendemic.” Her first music video will feature celebrity cameos like Carrie Butler (“Beetlejuice”), Samantha Bee, Cecily Strong and Brittany Snow.
As for the future of television and Broadway, Bundy weighed in on what might change in the industry. She said that we might see more animation and VFX production becoming increasingly popular and actors may even have to sign legal documents to confirm that they are comfortable in participating.
“If we can find out in ten minutes whether we have it, then everybody can get tested and work together. So, a group of 10 to 20 people could be quarantining together while they’re working on something. But I think that you just have to sign paperwork saying you’re willing to take the risk,” said Bundy. “That’s when it’s all about that, whether you legally agree to what you’re doing. And I actually think that moving forward, there will be something like that even in normal production time.”
In terms of how this pandemic will affect everyone, she said this is a time for people to evaluate what they want their lives to look like in the future, whether that be working from home more or leaving a living situation and moving somewhere new. As of now, she said that if the virus comes again, she knows what to do to cope.
“I have the antibodies and I’m in the process with Cedar Sinai donating my plasma,” she said. “Part of what is so paralyzing about this is the fear of the unknown. In the beginning, they were only really testing people who were almost dead. And then the results were, ‘You die,’ so you’re seeing higher incidents of extreme cases. That’s what we’re hearing about, but really, there are minor cases, too. For me, since I’ve been through this, I don’t have that fear that is so paralyzing because I’ve had it and I know what to do when I get it, and that’s to take 1000 mg of vitamin C every hour, a B vitamin, zinc, melatonin, don’t take Advil, take the herbs and drink water.”
The above interview is the subject’s opinion and does not constitute medical advice.