Letter to the Editor: Brad Weisbord on the Coronavirus

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Brad Weisbord (left) | Tattersalls

The virus is not a joke. The virus does not just infect old people. The virus is not like the flu. Most of the youth around the world is missing the point. The virus will make you want to die if it doesn’t kill you first.

On Monday (3/18) my wife said to me in the middle of the night, “What’s wrong with you? You’re gasping for air.” My response was, “I think I have a chest cold developing.” It felt like there was phlegm stuck in my chest.

On Tuesday morning, I could not get out of bed. She suggested I leave the apartment, and head to a vacant one-bedroom apartment my grandma (who is in Florida) has in the same NYC building. We have a 7-week-old baby, and the last thing I wanted to do was infect her and my wife. I took my pillow and left. Eight days later, I’m still here.

Symptoms and Actions:

Tuesday–Woke up with aches and pains all over. Very much like if you have a bad cold or the flu. A deep chest cough started. Coming from my lungs, not phlegm in your throat. When you cough, nothing happens, but feeling pain. No temperature immediately (mine was 97.2). Hard to want to do anything, I did not have any appetite or sense of smell. In bed Tuesday night I took my temp again, 99.8. The fever had started.

Wednesday–Woke up with a 100.4 temp. News spreading that NYC is the #1 hot spot in America (1/3 of the cases in the country). I had been careful since returning from Saudi, so figured there is no way I have COVID-19. I call my PCP and he agreed to see me. I wait in the car, they bring me out a mask and gloves, and he empties the office. Flu test, strep test, stool culture, blood panel. Everything “normal” was negative. The only bad sign was my SPO2 (oxygen) level was 91%. Normal is 95%-100%. He said, you can try to call the CDC and get tested, but you have the COVID-19 virus. With the NYC hospitals overrun, and the only testing being done for medical professionals, he thought I should head home and come back on Friday to make sure my chest X-ray was clean. Wednesday night, I sat in bed, hacking cough, struggling for a normal breath. Did not sleep for even one hour.

Thursday–Temp came down to 99.6. Managing temp and pain with Tylenol. Gastrointestinal issues start. I couldn’t keep anything inside. I started Immodium to help with that. Aches and pains pretty much gone. Shortness of breath getting worse, way worse. Like you’re suffocating to death. Cough getting worse, and more painful. Thursday night you start to think it’s better off to be dead.

Friday–Head back to the Dr. Chest X-ray is still clean of pneumonia. He tells me my body is fighting well. But days 5-7 are when people turn for the worse, potentially requiring supplemental oxygen and hospitalization or it can head in the right direction. He suggested I buy a pulse oximeter, to measure my oxygen at home. That will help me tell if my lungs are severely compromised. I get the oximeter, which reads 92%-93%. Gives me some comfort I can monitor my levels at home. I finally get four hours of sleep, before a terrible headache comes on. Take Tylenol to relieve the pain.

Saturday–Temperature is gone. Stomach issues cleared up. Shortness of breath was the same, awful. Cough still getting worse.

Sunday–No temperature. Shortness of breath the same. Cough terrible. Finally get seven hours of sleep with the help of Tylenol Cold PM.

Monday–Finally woke up and felt a normal breath, first time in a week. The virus had raised to my nose. Nose felt a little stuffed, but I would live with a lifetime cold rather than dealing with the respiratory issues

Studies suggest 40-80% of people will get this COVID-19 virus before a vaccine is developed (approx. 1 year from now). I’m healthy, young and have never smoked. There were 72 hours I wanted to die (days 4-6). What does COVID-19 do to the elderly, or people with underlying health issues….10%-20% DEATH.

This virus has already killed thousands and is going to end up killing hundreds of thousands around the world. Money can’t buy you a cure.

So–STAY INSIDE for a few weeks. FLATTEN THE CURVE! DO NOT visit your parents or grandparents. You might not show symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infect them!

In time, when the curve flattens, we will resume normal life, knowing the hospitals can care for the very sick. Trust me, I have been to hell and I’m crying for anyone that is dealing with any major respiratory symptom.

If you do get it, my advice:

*       Drink as many fluids as possible

*       Force yourself to a bland diet (mine was English muffins, chicken soup, bananas).

*       Keep temp down with Tylenol (not Advil). Immodium helps with the stomach.

*       Monitor your oxygen levels with your finger pulse oximeter

*       DO NOT visit the ER unless you are in a dire state, as they will only treat you if you need oxygen.

Stay safe. We’re one world. One love.

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