Houston News : Texas resident shares personal journey of testing positive for coronavirus

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Texas resident Hunter Howard shares journey ater testing positive for coronavirus.

Texas resident Hunter Howard shares journey ater testing positive for coronavirus.

Photo: Courtesy

Texas resident Hunter Howard shares journey ater testing positive for coronavirus.

Texas resident Hunter Howard shares journey ater testing positive for coronavirus.

Photo: Courtesy

Texas resident shares personal journey of testing positive for coronavirus

It has been 14 days since Hunter Howard first suspected he had contracted COVID-19.

Ten days since it was confirmed.

Now Howard, a 50-year-old Dallas resident, is recovering and out of quarantine. Yet his breathing is labored at times, his sense of taste is altered and intestinal problems ensue.

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“I went for a walk yesterday and after about five blocks, I had to sit down. I couldn’t breathe,” Howard said Wednesday.

Howard, who has no underlying health conditions, believes he caught the virus via an infected passenger seated behind him on a flight home from Aspen, Colo., on March 9. Upon his return to Dallas, it was life as normal.

Until March 12.

“I had a slight fever and a dry cough. It is a light tickle in the back of your throat. There was no phlegm or mucus,” said Howard, who is the president of Dallas-based Hormone Therapeutics.

By the next day, he began experiencing head and body aches, fatigue and night sweats. His fever was also rising, but he had no way to measure his temperature due to a shortage of thermometers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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He relied on Gatorade to help replenish his electrolytes. “I was incredibly thirsty. I was surprised by how much Gatorade I needed,” Howard said.

After calling his doctor, Howard decided not to seek additional medical attention.

“My physician told me there were only 42 testing units allocated to Dallas at that time and unless I needed a ventilator, I should stay home and rest,” said Howard. “He also said if I felt like I needed help to come in.”

Two days later, his symptoms worsened considerably.

“My fever was much higher and my breathing was really labored. I felt like my lungs were two paper bags. I could hear them crackling every time I would take a breath,” said Howard.

He also experienced intense body pains, including discomfort in his back and chest.

“I felt like I had a strap around my chest. The pain felt like it was coming out of the bottom lobes of my lungs and rib cage. It was uncomfortable to lie down,” he said.

But the most alarming thing was the fear of the unknown.

“The symptoms were worsening and I did not know how much worse it might get. I was being told to self-quarantine unless I needed ICU breathing support,” he said. “When do you make a decision to go in? At what point do you need to take better care of yourself?”

After taking physician-advised doses of 1600mg of Tylenol, his situation improved. “My fever broke and I have been feeling better ever since,” said Howard.

On March 16, four days after he originally suspected he may be afflicted, Howard received a physician referral to get tested for COVID-19 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Greenville.

The test requires a swab from a hard-to-reach area of the throat. To get there, technicians insert a nasopharyngeal swab — essentially a giant Q-tip — deep into the patients’ nose.

“It stings the nostrils but only takes around 10 seconds,” Howard said. A day later, it was confirmed that Howard had the coronavirus.

Howard was released from quarantine this week, but complications from the virus remain. His sense of smell and taste buds are still slightly off, and he has ongoing nausea and intestinal problems.

Still, he believes the worst is behind him. Now, he’s dishing out advice to others.

“Most of us will get the coronavirus. Safeguard your immune system, eat well and rest,” Howard said.

“We need to all protect the elderly and those with immunosuppression or lung and breathing issues by following social guidelines, and with the lack of beds and ventilators and medication, I believe we need shelter-in-place to slow down the transmission of this virus.”

@marcydeluna



The Houston Forum

Source : chron.com