Every COVID-19 survivor has a unique story to tell, and some of them are really scary.  Cherry Street Mission guest David’s experience was scary, and he shares it with you in the hope that his story will motivate you to be smart and, therefore, safer.

David’s story started in May, when he woke up feeling “a little tired.” Fatigue and temperature increased throughout the day until going from his bed to the bathroom was a struggle; his breathing was becoming labored, and his temperature was spiking.  Alert CSMM personnel called 911, and David was transported to the hospital.

COVID evaluation at the hospital was a new experience—David talked to a doctor via a computer tablet beside his hospital bed. By the time, a nurse (fashionably clad in a hazmat suit) finished his evaluation, his temperature was 104°, his blood pressure was alarmingly elevated, and his oxygen level had dropped to 83%.  The priority was to stabilize him—oxygen for his breathing difficulties and oral and intravenous meds to bring down his temperature. Lightheaded and “hurting from head to toe,” David nevertheless underwent a chest x-ray and nasal test that hit him, literally, right between the eyes.

It took six hours to stabilize him, after which he was admitted.  From that moment on, COVID protocol was David’s life, for the next six long, scary days. During that time David learned a lot about COVID. Did you know that COVID has mutated 12 times since being identified? That you can be infected by more than one strain? David was infected by two strains. Conversations with the infectious disease doctor about ventilators, double pneumonia, and surrogate decision-makers was bad enough, but when David was told that people with “his” COVID strains had only a 50/50 chance of ever coming off a ventilator, he thought he was not going to leave that hospital.

But God and modern medicine are good. Doctors administered four experimental treatments (remember, all COVID treatments are experimental), including a plasma infusion containing antibodies from recovered COVID patients. On Day seven, David was discharged to a local hotel designated for COVID-19 patients’ quarantine and recovery, where he spent the next 14 days.

Five weeks after first becoming ill, David’s breathing was normal; he still got tired easily when he exerted himself; his eyes were sensitive to bright lights (including TV, cellphone and computer screens); and he  could not grip anything tightly.  However, these after-effects are getting better day by day, and David is hopeful that full recovery isn’t far off. So are we.

What can we learn from this story? As David writes, “Please take this pandemic seriously. Protect yourself, practice social distancing and wearing facemasks when needed.” He should know.  David, thanks for sharing your story.