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COVID-19 Patient Shares How The Virus Affected His Body In Six Weeks

It's one thing to hear the numbers and reports and read the fact sheets about COVID-19, and another thing entirely to see what the virus does to a person up close.

That's one of the big reasons why Mike Schultz wanted to share his experience with the virus with the world.

Schultz, a 43-year-old nurse, was one of the people who thought the virus wouldn't affect him much.

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He was a healthy gym regular who weighed in at about 190 pounds, with no underlying conditions. But in mid March, he and his boyfriend, DJ Josh Hebblethwaite, attended Winter Party Festival in Miami Beach.

So far, at least 38 people who went to Winter Party are known to have contracted COVID-19 there, and three have died. Schultz almost made it four.

At Winter Party, Schultz and Hebblethwaite smiled and danced and met a bunch of new people, and they also ended up sick.

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"We knew it was out there," Schultz told BuzzFeed News. "There were no real restrictions in place, though. No lockdowns. We just thought, Well, we gotta wash our hands more and be wary of touching our face."

Schultz only started feeling sick after flying to Boston for a visit with Hebblethwaite.

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They told BuzzFeed News that they both began to feel sick within two days of Schultz's arrival, but Schultz clearly got it worse. When his fever hit 103, they rushed to the hospital, and Schultz was immediately admitted.

Hebblethwaite wasn't even allowed to say goodbye, let alone visit.

On his first day in the hospital, Schultz was given oxygen through the nose, then with a full mask, and then sedated and intubated.

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After being transferred to a larger hospital four days later, Schultz wouldn't fully wake up again for over four weeks.

When he woke up, he thought he had only been there for one week, but in total, he had been there for almost six weeks.

When he arrived at the hospital, he was 190 pounds. When he left, he was closer to 140.

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Just taking a mirror selfie left him exhausted, he said. "I was so weak. This was one of the most frustrating parts," he said. "I couldn’t hold my cellphone; it was so heavy. I couldn’t type, because my hands shook so much."

Nevertheless, he said it was important to do.

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"I knew what I thought going in [about the coronavirus]. I didn’t think it was as serious as it was until after things started happening," he said. "I thought I was young enough for it not to affect me, and I know a lot of people think that.

"I wanted to show it can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, have preexisting conditions or not. It can affect you."

Since getting out of the hospital, Schultz has been working at putting some of the weight back on.

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He said his lung capacity is only starting to come back, and his sense of taste isn't what it used to be. Some of the first food he ordered after his release was McDonald's cheeseburgers with fries and a strawberry shake. "It did taste different. I think lost some of my taste, but it was good," he said.

h/t: BuzzFeed News

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