SOUTH FORK, Colo. (KDVR) — You’ve probably heard someone say it at this point: the coronavirus is being blown out of proportion by the media, especially because more people die from the flu.
Clint Johnson of South Fork, Colorado was one of the many people who felt that way.
“I just didn’t take it serious. I just thought it was something media was coming up with to distract us from something,” Johnson said.
However, Johnson’s perspective changed when he got the coronavirus himself.
He’s now sharing his story with others hoping others don’t make the same mistake he did.
“It’s like the flu times 10. You don’t want to do anything. You’re just completely miserable. I’ve never been that sick before,” said Johnson.
Johnson doesn’t know where he contracted coronavirus. All he knows is that he came home from a weekend of 4-wheeling in Moab, Utah feeling a little under the weather.
“One night I went to eat some ice cream and it just tasted like ice. I was like, ‘this is weird,'” Johnson said. “I pretty much blew it off. I was a skeptic saying, ‘I just got a cold, there’s nothing wrong.'”
Two days later, Johnson woke up and realized he didn’t have an ordinary cold.
“I couldn’t feel my hands and fingers,” he said.
Johnson drove to the hospital in Del Norte and after a scan of his lungs he was flown by helicopter to Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo.
His symptoms grew worse, and included pounding headaches, extremely low blood pressure and a fever that wouldn’t go away with medication. While he says he was able to breathe, he also felt some compression in his chest, like he was in a constant bear hug. However, the fever was the worst.
“I would wake up soaking wet. There was one whole day I slept on ice just to try and keep in manageable,” he said.
On Johnson’s second night at the hospital, the coronavirus patient next door passed away and doctors worried Clint’s organs might start to shut down.
“They told me it was like baby shards of glass in all your air pockets,” he explained.
Doctors began treating him with hydroxycloriquine and zithromax. For Clint, the drugs worked. Within two days, he began to improve.
“It did wonders in my case,” he said.
After six days in the hospital, Clint is now back at his home in South Fork with a new perspective on the coronavirus.
He’s now sharing his story hoping it might help save someone else’s life.
“None of us were taking it seriously and if I would have done my part and stayed home, there’s no telling who I could have prevented from getting it,” he said.