Shortly after we all went “Cheers” on New Year’s Day, news about the coronavirus began to circulate nationally, but incrementally. Videos of doctors in hospitals falling unconscious surfaces on social media, but life in the United States was pretty normal. Until it wasn’t. 

Today, there have been a reported 4.93 million confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and over 161,000 deaths. Many have been quarantined since March, and with governments, jobs and businesses reopening, Shelby County numbers continue to rise. In Shelby County, over 22,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed with 302 deaths. 

There’s no sight of an end to this virus and many businesses are considering shutting down again with the rise in cases. Schools will implement remote learning in the fall including the University of Memphis which will implement a phase-in strategy. 

So what’s it like living with COVID-19? We touched base with Timothy Green, founder of The Dividend, a mentoring program for Black male students in Memphis. Tim revealed on social media that he had contracted the coronavirus and had been admitted to the hospital early during the quarantine. We want to show the severity of this virus and asked Tim to share his experience. 

1. Were you familiar with COVID before you experienced any symptoms?

Yes. I had been following the virus since some of the cases started to get attention in Wuhan, China.

2. When did you start experiencing symptoms? What were your symptoms?

I started experiencing symptoms in March. Initially, I had chills and lost my ability to taste and smell.

3. Describe your worst day (if not already done so in the above question).

My worst day was probably day 3 in the hospital. I was pretty fatigued and could also hear people screaming for help and hearing “code blue” through the night. At one point, a nurse had a breakdown in the hallway and her body hit my door. I still remember the sound of her sliding down the wall. At that point, I just focused on making it through the night. I kept giving myself a pep talk that it would all get better.

4. Did you go to the hospital? What was the atmosphere? 

Yes. I was in the hospital for 6 days; 2 while waiting for results and 4 days in ICU. I really felt like a science experiment. Since I was admitted in March, a lot of the staff was still trying to figure things out. I stopped responding to nurses that asked me where I went and “How do you think you caught it?” My response was “The chart has everything” with a smile. 

5. When did you start to recover?  

I started to recover around day 4. I was able to walk around a little (in my room) and I was taken off of fluids. 

6. Who was around you? Could anyone come visit you in the hospital or at home? 

No one could visit. My sister was able to bring my backpack with my laptop. I was working for a campaign so I wanted to get back to building our strategy once I felt better (I know…I know…I should have been resting). 

7. What did you fear most? 

Honestly, when the doctor started having the conversation around resuscitating me if things “began to get worse”, that made it real. I did not want to die there. 

8. Are you still experiencing side effects? What are they? 

A few days after leaving the hospital, I would have nightmares about my stay in the hospital and going outside my house (after quarantining) made me anxious. Those two things have gotten better, but I have pretty bad headaches every now and then. 

9. Do you know how you caught it? 

Right before the shutdown, I was out of town for work. I believe it was there. I am not sure where because I went to several places.

10. Do you think people are taking the virus seriously? What advice would you give anyone: young or old? 

I still believe that we are not taking this as seriously as we should. My experience really helped my friends and family take it more seriously. That’s why I decided to share my story on social media because a lot of people won’t believe it until it hits home for them. I would advise people to build their immune system up, wear their masks, social distance and if they can’t do that, stay home. And if they can’t stay home, and have to go out without a mask, drop a pin so I know where they are because I want to go the opposite way from where they’re going. 🙂

Please continue to wear a mask and social distance by maintaining 6 feet from other people. This virus is real and we want to protect and save as many Memphians as possible – so we can keep bringing soul to the Bluff City when all of this is over. 

Have you or someone you know recovered from the Coronavirus? Share your experience with us in the comments. 

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