Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Chris who used to power-lift 900 pounds, years ago, could barely lift his arms when he got home from the hospital. COVID-19 IS NO GAME!
Christopher "Chris" Kliewer, age 42, IT Systems Engineer, Jordan Minnesota (pictured above with his wife of 7.5 years, Cindy -together 11 years)
CHRIS'S COVID-19 STORY:
My COVID-19 story began on September 29th, 2020. I was very tired, feeling run down. My joints hurt and I had muscle aches, a bad headache, and a cough that I couldn’t shake, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever.
A local testing facility was offering next day results, and the first available test window was at 11:45 AM on October 1st, my birthday. I had the nasal swab test and then went home where I rested for the day. I had my results by email that evening at 9:30 p.m. I WAS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. What a great birthday present!!
When I tested positive, I tried to quarantine from my wife, Cindy. (She slept on the couch, but contracted COVID from me anyway) Her symptoms started two days later. Limited to two days of a bad cold-like feeling and loss of smell for a week. No other symptoms luckily. We were so glad that she had just a mild case, as she really helped to take care of me and if we were both extremely sick, I'm not sure who would have taken care of us. I am blessed to have my wife!!
On the morning of October 7th, I passed out at home. When I awoke I had an intense, painful pressure directly behind my sternum area and I could not keep my eyes open. My wife drove me to the ER after trying unsuccessfully to get me up after I laid back down on the bed; she was terrified that something serious was wrong with me and insisted that I go. (I felt so bad that I really didn't want to get out of that bed, but I also felt something was just not right) I was admitted to the St Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, MN after an X-Ray of my chest looking for blood-clots and a subsequent CT scan showed extensive “ground-glass opacities” COVID damage in the lungs.
The COVID-19 symptoms that I experienced, that worsened from the day that they started, began with headaches every day, joint and muscle pain, and fever on September 29th and progressed to insomnia, more severe headaches, that no medicine would cure, fever cycling between 97 and 103 degrees several times per day, sweating while having violent chills.
I would snap wide awake every morning between 1 and 4 AM with a splitting headache that never went away, just got less intense intermittently throughout the day. Usually, I had a fever to go along with it. One particular morning, my temp was 102.6. I could not get back to sleep and attempts to nap during the day were usually unsuccessful. My temperature constantly fluctuated between about 97 and 101 multiple times per day with bouts of extremely violent shivering or sweating like a turkey that was invited to Thanksgiving dinner. On the morning of Oct 6th, the temperature was the highest so far.
I was not having issues breathing unless I exerted myself. I had no energy to even climb the stairs to head to the restroom. I can take deep breaths without issue but it triggered the need to cough and it was difficult to catch my breath if I got into a coughing fit.
Every muscle and every joint ached so badly. Ibuprofen didn't touch it and neither did Tylenol nor aspirin.
Oddly, on Oct 5th, I spent most of the day feeling detached from my body. It felt as if my arms and shoulders and legs weren't mine but would respond when I would tell them to. Extreme vertigo, having to lean on the walls when trying to move, and instability and weakness in my legs combined with the aches and pains made it difficult to do anything.
I had absolutely no appetite and experienced GI issues which included severe nausea. When I did try to eat or drink something, nausea made me vomit and that combined with diarrhea led to severe dehydration. I experienced extreme vertigo, even when sitting, lost both my senses of smell and taste, and these symptoms eventually led to me passing out at home on the morning of October 7th and ending up in the hospital.
At the writing of this story, November 19th, 2020, I am still dealing with “aftershocks”, but they seem to be fading some: I still have brain fog, struggling with that. I had nerve pain in my hands and feet for a couple of weeks, but that has faded. Still dealing with headaches and a persistent cough that will not go away, and I am exhausted all the time, still struggling to move around without struggling to breathe.
THE ADVICE IF I HAVE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT GOTTEN COVID-19: Is to leave the politics out of this. Wear a mask to protect others, wash your hands to protect yourself.
Chris in the hospital, trying to feel somewhat normal
"Big guy in a little mask"
Chris, enjoying a much-deserved celebratory "Mai Tai" in a water cup
Photo Montage: Clockwise, starting top left. My wife and I with Puddles from Puddles Pity Party, 2018. My wife and I, Devil’s Bridge, Sedona, AZ, Jan 2018, My wife and some of our pets (She’s a veterinarian). Black dog, Frieda, Tan/White dog, Izzy, Left grey cat, Blue, Right grey cat, The Good Queen Cuddlewumps (Wumpy for short), Black cat on right, “Mama Tips”