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2021 My Tragic Summer

With a busy gigging schedule and a new band to boot I was excited about playing new places and meeting new people but, it came at a price. We aren't exactly sure when it happend or who brought it home but, It happened none the less. A few days after playing a Memorial Day show my wife began to feel ill. 2 days later we found out it was Covid-19. I had just come home from a weekend of shows 200 miles away to find her running a high fever. That was a Tuesday. Friday I lost my sense of smell and taste and began to have a cough and fever.

For the next 10 days I fought a 104-105 fever taking and alternating Tylenol and Advil to break my fever along with baths when that didn't work. Around day 7 I stopped wanting to eat but made myself eat when I could. We called the ER and were told most likely all they could do was give me fluids and send me home. So we waited.. On day 9 my skin began to become splotchy and dark and I began to get weaker and weaker. My breathing had began to become rapid and shallow. Day 10 my 42nd birthday I sent my family to the amusement park not wanting them to be sitting home while I just laid there in bed sick. It wasn't till 11pm after I took a shower as I slowly moved across my bathroom everything just seemed hazy at that moment I woke my wife and told her. "Babe its time we have gotta go you're going to have to take me." She let our girls know we were going to the hospital and after a 15 min drive we were there.

As I checked in the officer at the desk told me I had to wait outside and wasn't allowed to wait in the completely empty waiting room. So I waited in the summer evening heat in the drive through until the nurse brought me back to an examination room. I still had a fever and my o2 stats were around 68%. To the amazement of the Dr and Nurses I was still awake. I was admitted immediately. We waited for a few hours for the ambulance to transport me to the main hospital. The ride was short and I joked around with the paramedics. There was a team waiting for me when I arrived at the hospital.

The ER seemed to be busy for 3am on a tuesday morning. They got me out of my clothes and into a gown. I caught a glimpse of my wife as she dropped off my belongings in the backpack we packed before leaving for the ER. I wouldn't see her again for the next 25 days. With the IV's started the Dr informed me that they were going to start me on Antibody treatments then came the breathing treatments. First we tried a high flow canula turned up full blast. The hot air burned my sinuses and was so high that it just blew air straight through my sinuses right out my mouth. the nurse tells me "Take a breath take a breath" but I couldn't. She then tells me " We have one more option and if that doesn't work we are going to have to intubate you." I replied "Look I was a Corpsman in the Navy and I understand whats happening to me and I will not allow you to stick a tube down my throat." the Dr said "Well then for your sake I hope this works." They brought in a By-PAP machine and strapped it on to my face tightly and turned it on. I could feel the cool air blow in intervals against my face it was comforting and uncomfortable at the same time but I was stabilizing. My breathing still rapid and shallow but i was getting the O2 I needed. I laid in the ER for 10 hrs until my room was available often someone would walk by and I'd wave back letting them know I was ok and still there.

The trip to the ICU was faster than I had expected. A team of ppl talking and watching me as I was being settled in to my room for the next 16 days. now I'm not going to bore you with the day to day but it was day 3 I finally ate something and day 5 before it was solid food. I wasn't on a restricted diet mind you but with a mask strapped to my face and the fact I couldn't stop coughing I was worried I'd throw up with this mask on my face. I couldn't sleep on my stomach (which is preferred treatment with pneumonia) so I had to rotate left side to back to right side every 2 hours. Between my BP being taken every hour, blood drawn everyday 4:30am, blood thinners 6am and 6pm, antibiotics and, steroids 10 am and 10 pm I didn't get a lot of sleep.

Day 7 was the first time my Physical therapist came in to get me up and out of bed that's when I realized I didn't have the strength to stand. That was a real shock. aside from the treatments I spent my day watching TV playing on my switch (which I had packed before going to the hospital). Day 10 the patient in the room next to me had passed due to Covid-19 pneumonia. Routine for the next 6 days that followed I did however gain enough strength to get to the restroom with assistance(which was a personal victory).

Day 16 just after Lunch I was taken to another wing of the hospital. This wing had smaller rooms and an aide sat in a chair between the 2 door ways of adjacent rooms. This would be my home for the rest of my stay. As a celebration of sorts I called my wife who I had been video chatting with throughout my stay any time she was free or if the Dr. had an update on treatments so she would be in the loop. Celebrating my movement to a new room I had her pick up Whataburger and deliver it to the desk at the ER and my Aide brought it up to me along with my music journal.

Day 7

My first shower. Two nurses had to help me but it was so nice to not have a sponge bath. It made me feel more like myself for a change. Routine routine routine for the next week, I did a little PT to get my strength up but I wasn't doing a 5k anytime soon. I missed the 4th of july but could see the reflections of it off the buildings from my window. On a good day I'd be able to eat my meal without my 02 alarm going off or maybe I'd be able to sit in my room chair for an hour or two.

On July 5th I realized if I hadn't been sent home I'd be there when the ppl contracting covid 19 from their 4th of July festivities might be arriving and that the hospital might be overwhelmed with similarly ill patients. I didn't want to need something and no one be available to help. so I told my Dr that I was ready to go home. We began working on reducing my O2 feed. I was at 6liters and needed to be at 2liters before they would release me. I still couldn't really walk and my body wanted all the 02 they could give me but I was into a regular sized canula using a face mask on occasion when my alarm would go off. I was released on July 8th (my wifes birthday) against my nurses recommendation but with approval of my Dr. I coughed all the way through the hospital down to elevator with an oxygen tank sitting in my lap. An oxygen concentrator and 8 emergency tanks were waiting for me when I got home.

The walk from my car to my bed was probably the most difficult thing I had to do in a long time. I pushed my girls away when they tried to hug me because I couldn't catch my breath and my heart was beating out of my chest, but finally I was home...... and the road to recovery began.

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