SCPSCA President Chris Wade asked me to write a blog about surviving the coronavirus. Several people have called me a “survivor” after I got through it, but I am not sure I like that term. I never felt like my life was in danger, I was just miserable!
I started out thinking that I had a kidney stone. (Still not sure I didn’t.) I went to our county nurse practitioner after a couple days thinking I had an infection. Tests indicated that I may have one, so I started antibiotics. My biggest problem to start with was body ache and severe fatigue. I was so tired, I could hardly walk any distance and just wanted to lay down and go to sleep. After not improving and starting a fever, the nurse practitioner told me to get tested for COVID-19. I had heard horror stories about the swab reaching into your nose so far it practically touched your brain that I really did not want to do it, but I did. Honestly, it was not that bad.
The next day, the test result came back positive. A doctor talked to me for about 40 minutes and explained everything. He instructed me about separating myself from my wife in the house, told me what to take and what not to take, and said 2-3 weeks would be normal for the virus to run its course. He gave me the CDC guidelines: At least seven days after the onset of symptoms and three consecutive days without fever (and without taking Tylenol to reduce it) would show I was non-contagious. They do recommend Tylenol [acetaminophen] not ibuprofen to keep the fever down, as ibuprofen can agitate the virus.
So, I dealt with the fever that brought chills and sweats and the fatigue for several days and lost my appetite. I lost nine pounds (not a bad thing!). But finally, one morning I woke up feeling much better. Since then, I have regained my strength and my appetite. Even after I was no longer contagious, they recommended I stay in a couple more weeks. I am almost finished with that and will go back to work soon.
So, it was miserable for a while, but not as bad as I thought it would be. If you listen to the news, you may think you are as good as dead if you get it. Yes, people have died, but often because of underlying health conditions. For me, it was no different than having the flu.
People ask me a lot of questions. The one they ask the most is if I know where I got it. The answer is no. Being on the road answering 911 calls means I had plenty of opportunity to get it. I always wore gloves searching a suspect or a vehicle and used hand sanitizer after every call. Thinking I was ahead of the game doing that, I didn’t worry too much about getting the virus. But you never know when you might come into contact with something like that.
There is a lot I could say about the COVID-19 virus, but I don’t want to get political with it at all. So, let me sum it up this way:
If you or your family members have medical issues, take it seriously. If you don’t, then don’t panic. You will be sick, but you will recover. As a matter of fact, I feel much better now knowing that I am most likely immune to it. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I would rather have it and get over it than panic over everything out there.
President Chris asked me what God taught me through this episode with the virus. My first thought was trust. I have never been much of a worrier, so I really didn’t panic when I thought I had the virus or even when the doctor told me I did. I knew I could trust God. I am one of those guys that look at things and just think that is the way it is, so no need to worry myself about it. I kind of looked at the virus that way. I remember laying in the bed one night feeling awful and talking to God about it. I told Him I knew He would get me through it, but I would appreciate Him doing it right then! God reminded me that sickness and disease is a part of this sin-cursed world and I just needed to be patient. I then thought of Romans 8:18 that as bad as it is down here, it will be that much better up there.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
Once I was better, I gave thanksgiving to God for healing and was reminded of His grace toward me.
I hope this pandemic will be over soon. In the meantime, be smart and hang in there. God is good and He cares for you!
Bennie Durham Vice President South Carolina Public Safety
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