Interview with a COVID Survivor

In May of 2020, my uncle, Daniel Edwards, MD, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, discovered he had COVID. I interviewed him to find out about his ordeal. 

New West Press: How did you discover you had COVID? How do you think you got it?

Daniel Edwards: I was coughing a lot, and I thought it was just my usual allergies, but then the coughing was more insistent, so I was coughing all the time… I knew it was COVID because I started getting chills and shaking, and it wasn’t even that cold. And I’ve never had that before. I thought, ‘This isn’t allergies,’ because when you have allergies, you don’t have chills and start shaking. I started sweating. I think I got it from the emergency room, because I was working in the emergency room the week before, and they weren’t putting on masks and everything at that time, and so I think I got it from that. I went to get tested and had to wait seven days to get my result. [My girlfriend] got tested at the same time. So, the test came back in seven days, and the results initially said that mine was negative. I thought, ‘No, it must be a false negative,’ because I had all the symptoms, and was really coughing more throughout that seven-day period when I was waiting for my results. And then my girlfriend’s [test] came back positive, so I had them check [mine] again, and they said “Oh, yeah, it just came back positive.” 

And that’s not even the worst symptom. The worst symptom was fatigue. You get really, really tired. I’d never had that kind of tiredness… two months before, [after I had recovered,] I was walking for about two miles, just in street clothes, not in the sixty-pound weighted vest I usually wear when I go walking, and I could only walk like half a block. You get really tired and sleepy, but I was lucky because I didn’t get short of breath. I was checking my pulse oximeter, and I think the lowest [my oxygen saturation level] ever got was eighty-nine percent. Usually, you want to be above ninety-five percent. I was short of breath, thinking, ‘Oh, I might have to go to the emergency room’s intensive care unit,’ so I was pretty lucky. But the fatigue was really bad. It would have been okay if I had just been tired, and could have laid in bed and read. I couldn’t even read, I couldn’t even concentrate, I was so sleepy. 

NWP: What did you eat while you were sick?

DE: I didn’t eat much of anything, because COVID affects your taste. I heard from an emergency room doctor, one of the people I was working with, that a lot of people say their taste goes away, and everything tastes like metal. For me, I was really, really sensitive to salt. Even if there was a little bit of salt in the food, I could taste it, it was really strong. That’s why I ended up losing a lot of weight [seventeen pounds], because I didn’t want to eat. So when I did eat, I drank some of those chocolate shakes, like Atkins, because those are sweet. I was trying to find crackers and potato chips with no salt. I could kind of eat those. 

NWP: Are you completely recovered?

DE: Yes. The symptom that lasted the longest was the cough. It lasted for four months. It’s kind of a weird cough, too, because pressure builds up in your chest and you have to cough. It’s not like a regular cough. I was talking to some people who are specialists, and they told me, “Yeah, we don’t know how long the cough will last.” But I had no other symptoms at that point. By the end of the day, because you’re tired, you cough more, with COVID. The persistent cough is a common symptom. Other than that, I’m glad the fatigue went away. The fatigue lasted about two weeks. That was the worst thing. 

NWP: Are people in your workplace wearing masks?

DE: Yeah, we all wear a mask, but the masks we’re wearing are paper. They’re not really that protective. But when I see patients in the emergency room, I wear an N95 mask, which masks ninety-five percent of all particulates. Even if the person [I’m examining] has no illness, there are other people in an emergency room that are sick. Some of the other doctors have these special masks that look like gas masks, and those are even more restrictive, and some of the nurses have the same kind of set up. The problem is, they don’t wear it all the time because it’s really uncomfortable. Other people are wearing both N95 masks and a visor, because patients can cough in your face. But I don’t have a visor. I just use my N95 mask. Hopefully, they’ll have a vaccination by January. 

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