I tested positive for COVID-19. I know what you’re thinking, this guy didn’t obey the rules, but I did. Me and my family, which includes my wife, three kids, and a dog, all had been quarantined since the beginning. If we went out we wore a mask and we really didn’t go anywhere anyway.
Once I learned that someone I had interacted with, without a mask, had become sick I realized that there was a possibility of getting COVID-19. It wasn’t long before I felt very sick and got tested. It was positive.
The test was brutal. I’ve heard people are able to give themselves the test now but that wasn’t my experience. Further up the nose than I thought possible, let’s leave it at that.
I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling great. In fact, I secretly woke up my youngest daughter and we tip toed out of the house to get some donuts as a surprise, masks in hand. After picking out her favorite flavors and a few for our neighbors, we headed home. It was about 9am.
By 11am it felt like my lower back and legs had been beaten with a bat.
In what felt like an instant, my body just became so incredible fatigued and sore. Now, to be honest it felt like the flu. It was terrible yes, but it wasn’t completely foreign. It was just an incredibly achy feeling all over my body and I was in bed for the rest of the day.
That night, and many nights to follow, was terrible. For the next 4 days I dealt with fatigue, fever, chills, overheating, and body aches. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and the only thing that felt good was to be in the shower. I had lost my appetite and felt very weak and the shower kind of relaxed everything and kept me going for a while.
Eventually my skin felt like it had be sunburned all over. This may have been the worst of my early symptoms. I could barely keep a shirt on and it made sleeping intolerable.
What came next was the mother of all headaches.
Now, I don’t get headaches, really ever. So either I am just a wimp or this headache was the queen of all headaches. I couldn’t even move my eyes or my head. I had to stay completely still in order to keep the shock-wave from spreading through my cranium. In order to help this I put a blindfold on my face for about a day, which was not helpful for many things, but it kept my eyes from working which was the point.
During that time I lost my sense of smell completely and most of my sense of taste. I was eating a meal prepared by my wonderful wife, who I will talk about later, and noticed something was off. My wife is an amazing cook and this just wasn’t tasting right, and I realized I couldn’t smell it at all. My kids and I all stuck our noses in a jar of minced garlic to test it; my kids gagged, I didn’t smell anything.
Crazy enough, on day 8, I woke up feeling a lot better. My fatigue and fever were gone. My skin didn’t have that burning feeling and my headache began to subside. I was so happy, I started making phone calls and getting ready to get back into some level of productivity. I even led worship that night on my Instagram account, which felt really good. Little did I know, that this was just a pause in the storm.
The next morning, I couldn’t breathe.
I had heard from the beginning that COVID-19 was supposed to be a respiratory virus, it is supposed to dramatically influence your breathing but up until this point I hadn’t felt any of those things. But the morning of day 9 I felt like there was a web in my lungs and chest.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t breathe completely, but it was like breathing through a straw. There was never a full breath and if I did it would send me into a coughing fit which was painful in my chest. For the first time during all of this, I was scared.
Not being able to breathe right feels so wrong, more than any other symptom I had. I don’t have asthma as many do, so for me this was my first experience with something like this. I felt like a vice grip was tightening every day on my chest and lungs. I could barely get around the house without being completely out of breath.
Eating was impossible.
What you don’t realize about eating is how much you are holding you breath in the process. Much like learning to swim and breathe at the same time, I couldn’t figure out how to chew and swallow without a slight moment of panic from not having any air.
After day 10, the doctor made it clear that he would like me to check into the ER. My wife dropped me off at around 2pm or so and I said goodbye to her and my kids, not a good feeling. If you’re anything like me, than all you think about is the worst case scenarios, and that’s what I was doing. I didn’t want to die but I was getting worse everyday. It was just me and God at Kaiser.
When I arrived and told them I had already tested positive for COVID-19 and was having trouble breathing, they rushed me into my room in less than 5 minutes. That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen people move at a doctors appointment in my life.
They did blood work and took an x-ray on my chest to check for pneumonia, all those tests came back negative. Praise the Lord. After watching Jumanji on the little hospital TV they hooked a bunch of sensor things to my chest and asked me to walk around for 5 minutes. Hardest thing to do in the world. Honestly I’m not sure how they didn’t hook me up to the ventilator right there, my sensors were beeping like crazy and the doctor kept coming back in to make sure I was okay.
Just walking around that little room felt like I had just swam the 200 IM. I was struggling. After a while they let me stop and if it weren’t for all the hook-ups on my chest and a deep desire to go home, I would’ve fell asleep easily.
Later on they took me to get a CT-Scan to check again for pneumonia and blood clots in my lungs. This isn’t a big deal and unfortunately not my first time doing this, but if you haven’t done it they inject you with this dye that helps the CT-Scan pick up what it’s looking for. This stuff makes your entire body heat up like a light-bulb and very nauseous. But, test showed all clear.
At about 11:30pm, they let me go home.
I was so thankful. My wife came and picked me up while my friend and neighbor Chris sat outside my house to guard my house and kids. So thankful.
Here’s the crazy part. The next morning, I started to feel a little better. I took it easy still and didn’t really talk about it, but my chest was feeling open and breathing was loosening up.
2 days later it was gone.
As I’m writing this, I’m 6 days with no symptoms and feeling wonderful. The doctor said I will have a lingering cough for a while, which seems to creep up in the evening time. But besides that everything was returned to normal.
I’m so thankful to all my friends and family who sent me encouragements along the way and to those who were praying for me.
My wife, Vanessa, took care of me and 3 other little creatures, not to mention had to do it while she was sick as well. She is the greatest blessing in my life and I’m so thankful for her.
I had to decide in my heart whether or not I was ready to die if that’s what was going to happen. I’m not sure I could confidently say yes, but one thing is true, God and I had some time together to discuss life. I wouldn’t say it was a worshipful experience, but it was what I needed.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. Stay safe.
Don’t be afraid.
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