JOURNAL OF A 31 YEAR OLD AMERICAN MALE NURSE INFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS, FACING HIS WORST FEAR: VENTILATOR INTUBATION (“Dear Diary” 3rd-19th March 2020)

Three weeks from the journal of 31-year old American David Tingley.

Recorded by Sam Spitzer.

“This is the direct, unedited journal of the day to day experiences of a 31-year-old male nurse who caught the coronavirus late February/early March. It records first symptoms to near death lung failure. The patient had no preexisting conditions, no health problems, good cardio, not overweight, not asthmatic, busy and active lifestyle. At time of writing, patient is not yet discharged from hospital.

Sam Spitzer

TAKE THIS COVID 19 VIRUS SERIOUSLY!!!

COVID-19 is not like the flu… AT… ALL…

How can I know this?
Because I’ve lived through coronavirus.
From symptoms to pneumonia to almost dead in the ICU. I’m on the other side now. I hope. In short I’ve been there. As a nurse and as a patient. I’m qualified to share my journal so maybe it’ll help others.

DAILY JOURNAL


March 3, 2020

Bronchitis like illness started. Dry cough, every minute or two. No fever. No phlegm. Full shift.

March 5, 2020

Low grade fever starts. Think it’s bronchitis, mild. Worked full shift.

March 6, 2020

Symptoms not going down. Maybe flu?

Fever climbs from 99.8 to 102.6 in one hour. This is outside the Tamiflu window. Stayed home for symptom management and self contain.

March 9, 2020

Fever getting worse if anything. Weekend didn’t break it. Not good.

102.6 to 103.1 tested using all 3 of my thermometers. THIS ISN’T FLU.

Mask up and go to urgent care. Diagnosed with pneumonia. Started on Levaquin, discharged. Bad night.

March 11, 2020

Spaced out 3 doses of Levaquin. NO improvement in symptoms.

Go direct to E.R. Admitted.

Swabbed for COVID19. IV antibiotics. Chest CT scan. Confirms pneumonia.

March 12, 2020

Get to a room and placed on supplemental oxygen via nasal cannula at 1 liter per minute (lpm).

Incentive spirometer tests. I’m only able to achieve 500, for perspective my healthy lungs could hit 4000.

March 13, 2020

Oxygen (O2) saturation begins to decline. Oxygen increased to 2lpm, then 3 lpm, then 5lpm. Oxygen saturation at 88% on 5lpm.

Decision is made to use high flow (vapotherm device, can do up to 40lpm) and move to ICU. Placed immediately on maximum flow 40lpm and 60% oxygen.

OK I’m terrified at this point because vapotherm is all that is standing between me and the ventilator. Right here if I would have stayed at home and not come into hospital I would have died. I would have respiratory arrested in my bed. Never woken up.

March 14, 2020

I have a bad coughing spell, my oxygen saturation drops to around 80%. I’m still on 40lpm and 60% thru vapotherm nasal cannula.

I’m trying to gasp for air, but because of the condition of my lungs, can only take small breaths without coughing more. Feel as though I’m about to die. My heart is racing, oxygen still low, and I’m sweating profusely. I can’t stop choking. I’m in respiratory distress!

I pressed my call light trying to get the attention of anyone who can help. My nurse was in another room tending to another sick patient. Fortunately he sees me and comes to my room. I am now on 40lpm and 100% oxygen, so the only next step is the ventilator.

I’m terrified. My breathing slows as my oxygen saturation slowly returns to above 90%. I’m weaned back down to 60%. The same thing happens again in the night, and again I thought I was about to leave this world. I know what is happening. Inside my body in my lungs there is a full scale war between coronavirus and my immune system.

If coronavirus wins, I choke to death. I hope my guys win.

Again vapotherm put to 100% oxygen, this time for several hours. Brain is weirdly dark but I know what is going on. I’m slowly weaned again to 60%.

March 15, 2020

My morning arterial blood gas test (which hurts like a m—– f—–) is normal. I get weaned to 50% oxygen on the vapotherm.

March 16, 2020

My oxygen saturation is 97%. I’m weaned further to 30lpm and 40% vapotherm oxygen.

March 17, 2020

I’ve been in ICU 4 days, forced to use a bedpan because my oxygen saturation drops if I turn or even move too much.

I am unable to clean myself; I’m feeling completely helpless and so embarrassed, but my nurses were great and very understanding. I now truly understand my patients’ feelings from all these years of nursing.

I’m weaned to 25lpm and 30%. I’m going to the medical floor, out of ICU.

March 18, 2020

I’m weaned to 28% on the vapotherm.

I can achieve 1500 on my incentive spirometer finally. I’m hopeful to be weaned to a regular nasal cannula.

The provider comes in. I’ve been waiting for my swab results. I tested positive for COVID19…

6 and a half days of waiting for the outside lab to process the coronavirus swab test.

But I’m relieved because I finally have a diagnosis. I have the reason I’ve been so sick.

I’m weaned to 4lpm on a regular nasal cannula. I can’t explain the relief you feel when you stop choking but also my guys must’ve won the battle.

Anxiety that coronavirus might attack again. But I know from experience this is rare.

4 hours later I’m weaned to 2lpm.

4 hours later I’m weaned to room air.

My oxygen saturation stays 93% and above all night.

March 19, 2020

I’ve had no visitors this entire time due to my isolation precautions. This is coronavirus last sting, if it gets you, you have to die alone to keep loved ones safe.

As I write this, I’m waiting to attempt a 6 minute walk test to see if my oxygen stays up, so I can go home.

JOURNAL ENDS


David wrote an e-mail, to conclude the coronavirus journal. Here it is, included verbatim:

Guys, this is why social isolation is a thing. As a 31 y.o. I wasn’t supposed to get sick. I wasn’t supposed to need to be admitted to hospital let alone the I.C.U. I was a healthy nurse. I had protective gear and took precautions, followed virus proximity procedures RELIGIOUSLY.

As I write this I know we’ve already had several deaths from COVID19 in my area. I thank God I wasn’t one of them! I almost was. I am recovering [touch wood]. However, many won’t be as fortunate as I have been. Many will die. Especially those with any lung or heart or immune system problems. Not just the elderly! Higher risk:

  • overweight (type 2 diabetics)
  • chronic asthmatics
  • ppl with heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • ppl with pulmonary hypertension (including smokers)
  • immunocompromised (inc anxiety, depression)

This is what Ive seen with my own eyes. I’m sure there’s more risk factors, like inflammations, lupus, cancer patients on chemo, etcetc. Look it up. Dont 100% rely on papers or television. Eat healthy. Exercise safely fr half hour each day.

Last of all, I beg you don’t forget I had NONE of the higher risk factors.

The only sure way not to put your life at risk is to #stayhome. The better you prep the more chance coronavirus wont get to you… PLEASE wear your mask and keep it disinfected, wear gloves if you can and keep them disinfected too… stick to the 6ft social distancing, try to get your friends and family to be 100% about this too. If we all follow the rules of quarantine we will beat coronavirus.

D.

p.s. once Im tested coronavirus negative and have tested negative again two weeks later, I’ll be one of the lucky recovered. I am going to let my blood plasma be part of trials to isolate antibodies, for making a vaccine to stop this deadly virus.

xxxx


STAY SAFE, ALL OF YOU.

AND STAY SMART.