Seth Dewey: The cough, the chest pain and of course the fever. The extreme fatigue was what really got me too, I would get up to let's say, make lunch or something. And I felt like I ran a marathon. It felt like the flu times ten.
Nick Gosnell: Welcome to COVID-19: My Story. I'm Nick Gosnell. Seth Dewey works for the Reno County Health Department. But, even though he has access to the best information available at work, he still contracted the virus. Here is his COVID-19 story.
Seth Dewey: Before COVID it was pretty normal, it's just myself and I have a 20 month old son that I share custody with his mom. I worked at the Reno County health department, live here in Hutchinson. Before COVID it was just normal. You know what I mean? Just going to work and hanging out with my son, whenever I can. Being able to work at the health department, I was able to get a little bit more of a well rounded approach on things. I really tried to ground myself in reality, uh, not get sucked into the, the social media aspect of things and just tried to look at the facts, wearing a mask at all times to just make sure that I was doing my part to mitigate the spread. Myself I'm a person in longterm recovery. Um, and what that means for me is I haven't picked up a substance or a drink since July 23rd of 2017. The only reason I mention that is that's actually the position that I hold also at the health department. I'm a health educator, uh, specializing in, uh, substance misuse, uh, education. And so I worked very in close contact with those in the recovery community and what we can do to, uh, address those issues in a progressive and proactive approach within Reno County. I'm also a part of a group called Addicts Against Overdose. And what we do is we, um, carry Narcan. It's an opioid reversal drug in the event of an overdose. Um, about six days prior to me testing positive, I was called by someone to respond to an overdose where the individual needed Narcan, of course I was in close contact with 911. Law enforcement and EMS showed up, but I was the first one there in that event. I also administered CPR, of course with the use of a face shield and administered the doses of Narcan. Fortunately, the individual, uh, made it, pulled through, but that is the only time that going back, uh, that I can think of that I was in a position where I did not have a mask on. And, um, as where I was around people that were not in my normal circle.
Seth Dewey: It was actually on the evening of September 9th and I went to bed and I had a scratchy throat and I had my son with me at the time too. So I was a little concerned with that, but wasn't too alarmed. But then I woke up at about four in the morning, feeling extremely under the weather. Definitely, I knew something was abnormal. Woke up with a fever, the throat was extremely sore and I felt like I got hit by a truck, went back to bed and then woke up at about 8:30 in the morning, and that's when I called my supervisor and said, listen, something's going on with me and I think I'm going to call the clinic and get tested. That's how that whole thing went down, scheduled an appointment to go get tested. And at that point they didn't have the rapid test results. So I had to wait. And so, me and my son automatically went on that quarantine while I was awaiting my test results. I got tested early on a Thursday morning, and by Friday night I had my test results. So I didn't have to wait for too terribly long. I hadn't been in contact with many people. I've been staying away from large groups and things like that. Other than the few people that worked directly with me in my office, there was only about three others that I had to list as a potential contact. Not only did I let them know, then of course, contact tracers were able to contact them as well and let them know that they were in contact with a direct positive.
Seth Dewey: My son's mother wasn't able to work things out to where he was going to go stay with her. So I actually ended up having my son with me, so I wasn't able to, to rest as much as I probably should have. So I think that was a little bit of the reason why my symptoms seemed to last longer, but the most that I noticed was the cough, the chest pain. And of course the fever, the extreme fatigue was what really got me too. I would get up to let's say make lunch or something. And I felt like I ran a marathon. It was mostly those type of things, but it was, you know, a lot of people have said, oh, it's like the flu. Well, in my case, personally, it felt like the flu times ten, um, granted I never had the, uh, the stomach elements like some had, but I had the extreme cough, the chest pain, the shortness of breath and the extreme fatigue.
Seth Dewey: And that was about the first seven days that I had that. Later on, as the other symptoms started to taper off, I started getting extreme body aches, particularly in my legs. It was really strange. I was actually kind of concerned about that for awhile. At about day 10 all symptoms started to taper off. Since I had my son with me, I was wearing a mask even in the house, cause I was really concerned with not transmitting it to him as well. So it was one of those things where like I said, I wasn't able to rest as much as I probably should have been, taking care of an infant, but at the same time, it was one of those things that I just had to do. You know what I'm saying? He never did get sick. I was labeled recovered and then he had to start his two week quarantine because, of course he was in contact with me. So, the way that, uh, what we know about the virus so far is that two week, uh, incubation period, uh, from the time I was, uh, not displaying symptoms, of course, then we had to monitor him for two weeks. I've been really thinking about this as I come up to being off of quarantine, I'm definitely going to even watch closer, my social distancing, and also the amount of time that I am in groups, like for instance, with meetings and things like that, just because I realize now how much my actions, even unintentionally affect those around me. And that's one of the things that I want to really try to get out there to others is please be sure you are doing what you can, regardless of how you feel about the issue or the mask issue or about COVID-19 in general or political affiliation. Because if you do come down positive, every single person that you've come in contact with, whether they get sick or not, it's still going to influence their life and their livelihood for that time that they have to quarantine.
Tell you what, it definitely was a struggle at times, not only do you have the worry of giving it to your family member or someone like, for instance, in my case, a child that you have to take care of, you have to be close to them. You have to change their diaper. You have to feed them. So, not only do you have that mental side of it that you're constantly worried about, but you also have to take care of yourself at the same time. And then also being concerned like for myself, I was concerned with those ones that I came in contact with. I was messaging my, my workmates that I, that I worked with um, and the ones that I was in close contact with making sure that they weren't coming down with it. So the mental side of things is definitely something that I wasn't prepared for. You know, I wasn't prepared to think about, oh my goodness, my friends are in a position where they aren't able to go to work or in positions where they can't spend time with their family and things like that. It's definitely been an eye opener to me on how I am going to be even more cautious going forward, even though I was pretty cautious beforehand.
Seth Dewey: The thing is, is like with the people that I've worked with on several of our coalitions and community partnerships, with what I do for work, I work with the law enforcement. I work with fire and EMS, and it's one of those things that I've always been curious about and now, it's even more so in the forefront of my mind about...those people are putting themselves at risk in so many different situations at all times, let alone now, now during this pandemic. Social distance, avoid large groups and wear a mask and of course, use hand sanitizer, wash your hands. If you're feeling under the weather, don't go out. You know, so many times we, uh, this has been brought to the forefront, but it's the same thing as learned when we were in kindergarten, you know, wash your hands, cover your mouth, common sense practices that have sad to say, been forgotten. And so if we can reimplement those and get those back into the forefront of our mind, plus taking a little bit more of these preventative measures, like the social distancing, the mask wearing it definitely can, can help you and the ones who come in contact with.
Nick Gosnell: Our thanks to Seth Dewey for sharing his COVID-19 story. If you'd like to share your COVID-19 story on the podcast, email your story to [email protected] for consideration on a future episode. Thanks for listening to COVID-19 my story. Listen, next week for another episode of COVID-19 my story on HutchPost.com and your favorite podcast app.