By now, many of us can recite the oft-repeated information about COVID-19 as though it were a song we learned in elementary school. One of the most commonly stated bits of data is how much the virus seriously impacts older people or those with preexisting conditions, but there are still healthy and young people who are experiencing severe symptoms of the virus, and one of them is actually a nurse himself.
San Francisco based RN Mike Schultz is just 43 — relatively young, and certainly not the age people would think of when the consider who might be hospitalized by the virus — but he ended up in the hospital for six weeks with the coronavirus. And the toll it took on his body has to be seen to be believed.
When he’s in good health, Mike is, put simply, jacked.
A couple of months ago, though, he and his boyfriend attended the Winter Party Festival. By this point in time, people were generally aware of the virus, but the severity was still being underplayed.
38 people who attended the party later became sick, and three men died from the virus. Mike was among the ill, and his condition ultimately worsened to the point that he had to be hospitalized, where he stayed for six weeks. When he got out, he looked like a completely different person.
“I wanted to show everyone how badly being sedated for 6 weeks on a ventilator or intubated can be. Amongst other things, covid19 reduced my lung capacity with pneumonia. Over 8 weeks I’ve been away from family and friends Getting stronger everyday and working to increase my lung capacity. I’ll get back to where I was in healthier ways this time….maybe even do cardio.”
While Mike thankfully lived through his harrowing ordeal, he’s using his experience to caution people about being overconfident that the illness won’t affect them.
“Update: passed my modified barium swallow test today So now I can eat what I want (pizza ) and drink what I want (coke zero). Also I walked around the PT gym a few times and climbed some small steps all while my PT secretly turned down my oxygen. This is the first day I’ve really walked btw. I am determined as hell to get out of here and get back to some sort of normalcy. I would not be able to do any of this if I didn’t have the help of my hero and boyfriend @dj_jwarren whom I haven’t seen since March 17. Hoping to get out of here very soon Where I’ll continue physical therapy at home. This disease is no joke people. if you think you’re too young to get it, think again. Thank all of you for your kind words and support I can only get through so much without getting emotional to have a good update in a few days.“
Since Mike wasn’t allowed to have visitors while in the hospital, it was extra special for him to get out and be reunited with his partner again.
“After 57 days in the hospital not able to see any visitors, battling covid induced pneumonia, I’m finally going home! Had to make a stop at McDonald’s with my guardian angel, my best friend, and my boyfriend, @dj_jwarren . There aren’t enough words to describe how thankful I am for his help, for the support from my family, and for the thoughts and prayers of so many of you. I appreciate all of your kind words. I still have months of recovery ahead of me. So happy I get to spend it with Josh.“
He even made it out in time for his birthday and was treated to a celebratory meal!
Hopefully Mike will be back to work (and full health) soon!