Carol Ann Wilson
Diabetes Relief added a service this year: the “antibody test” to determine if someone has already had COVID-19, the disease caused by the current Coronavirus. A friend of mine was one of our “positive” results, meaning that he had survived the disease and now possessed the antibodies for it. He gave me permission to tell you his story. We will call him “Greg.” I hope that this eyewitness, first-hand account will give you some insight into what the disease is like (at least for a young person, even though we older folks may need to be much more careful).
Greg was a 23-year-old graduate student in an East Coast school during March 2020 when the U.S. outbreak hit. We had heard about the “Wuhan virus” in China, knew that it had been declared a worldwide pandemic, but we were still freely going about our day-to-day activities, not knowing that a quarantine lay just ahead. Many of us remembered that Dr. Fauci–now known to everybody who has a TV set–had told us back in January that the virus was “no major threat.” Greg was healthy, exercised regularly, and followed a nourishing diet, so if anybody could survive a horrendous virus, it would be Greg.
On March 13, 2020, he attended a bachelor party with 12 other guys from several states who stayed in an Airbnb in South Carolina. They had great fun that weekend, through the wedding. Greg returned to his apartment on March 15 and on Monday, March 16, he had a normal day. Things were very different by March 17.
That Tuesday morning, Greg knew he had a fever when he woke up, but he had no thermometer, and he was freezing cold. He had muscle fatigue that was so bad he couldn’t even sit up. He had no appetite, but he wasn’t nauseous. His throat was sore, he had a bad headache, and he felt “stuffy.” That day he had only a fruit smoothie, slept for 19 hours, and took Ibuprofen every four hours. But he never had a cough or chest pains.
As he looked back on it, he said, “The worst was the weakness, the muscle fatigue, and severe headache. The night sweats were bad, but they were more annoying than anything else.” Tuesday night Greg slept 13 hours. He never suspected that he might have the Coronavirus.
On Wednesday, March 18, after the worst night of his life, his sheets and mattress pad were soaked from the awful night sweats. He decided to see his doctor and arrived at her office with a temperature of 102.6. The doctor thought it might be strep because of his sore throat, but the test was negative. Other tests were also negative, and nobody mentioned COVID-19. The doctor said that, since he had no respiratory symptoms, she did not suspect Coronavirus. She prescribed the antibiotic Amoxicillin, told him to take Extra-strength Tylenol, and gave him a thermometer for home.
His temperature on Wednesday ranged 103 without the Tylenol and 99 with it. He felt AWFUL on Wednesday. Again he stayed in bed, with no energy, and he ate a bit more, adding a protein smoothie and Gatorade. That night he had more night sweats, and he kept taking the Tylenol. On Thursday, March 19, Greg was in bed all day again but was awake several hours. He had a meal with chicken and an apple, and he again ran a fever all day, but was able to sit up comfortably.
Friday morning his fever began going down and by that evening was basically gone. By Saturday he was “90% back to normal.” He flew back to Houston on March 22, just in time for the March 23 lockdown. He had lost 6 pounds during that ordeal.
The more he heard about COVID, the more he thought that’s what he probably had, but wasn’t sure where he might have gotten it, unless at an airport, the bachelor party, or maybe a Houston Rockets game the night before he left for the bachelor party. Now we have all been told that a carrier can be contagious even without symptoms. He had the antibody test on April 17, which showed that he had been exposed to the current coronavirus. “It was about the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” says Greg, “but I’m always pretty healthy and try to stay fit.” It was all over in less than a week, and it probably was no worse than the flu many of us have lived through. It just didn’t seem like something that could be fatal. Greg hopes that his donated plasma may be used to help others suffering from the virus. Think you might have had it? Call us at 281-600-5000 to schedule your antibody test.