EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For the past year society has learned to deal with COVID-19 restrictions, testing, vaccine and of course, the tragic stories of the lives lost.
Eyewitness News is highlighting the stories of those who have had COVID-19 and how it changed their lives and the lives of their families.
Each person that spoke with Eyewitness News had different experiences, but they all have the same message; COVID-19 is not something to be taken lightly.
“Believe me, I was saying ‘I’ll never get this.’ I’m in pretty good shape, always wore masks. I did what I had to do. I got it and it’s real. And it is pretty devastating,” COVID-19 survivor Chris Perry said.
Perry is from Mountain Top and he says he still can’t believe he contracted the virus. It all started last October for the then 70-year-old Luzerne County Council member.
“It was Saturday. I was doing the lawn. All of a sudden I started coughing and blaming it on, I told my wife, an allergy situation, I felt like I’m okay,” Perry said.
He soon realized it was no allergy.
“The next day that cough came with a fever and I said to myself ‘uh-oh this is not right’. I went for a test. The next day they said you have it,” he said.
From there, Perry’s symptoms accelerated.
“The symptoms proceeded every day. Every single symptom you can possibly have with COVID, the cough was nonstop, the fever was continuous, no matter what you took. I took Tylenol. It went away for half an hour, then it would come back with all the aches and everything else that came with it. It’s just a terrible feeling,” Perry said.
Perry was hospitalized for six days.
“That was my low point. I think when I went to the emergency room and I was laying there, ‘Am I going to get through this?’ I actually thought to myself not realizing what state I was in. I mean I felt to myself am ‘I getting through this or not?’ That’s how low I certainly was,” he said.
In time, Perry made a full recovery.
“I didn’t go on ventilation. My oxygen levels were always good. That kind of got me though this, because I was on the edge. Never got to that point, because I believe I was healthy,” he said.
Perry isn’t the only local politician who survived COVID-19.
“At first it started off as like a small cold. And it really was destructive when I lost my sense of taste and smell,” Rep. Tarah Toohil (R, 116th District) said.
Toohil, much like Perry, says the Coronavirus turned up it’s attack as time went by.
“So obviously, to do really well with it and think you have a mild case, then a week later you’re having that heaviness in your chest. Concerns that you were going to have, a worsened condition, you know, it causes anxiety and it made it very relatable for me about what other people must have gone through,” Toohil said.
Toohil did not have to be hospitalized and made a full recovery.
“My concern is the fact what we don’t know down the road, the after effect of COVID,” Rick Morelli, survivor said.
Morelli from Luzerne County was diagnosed with COVID-19 last March and says he experienced fatigue and a fever but had no major complications. It was only after he had recovered when doctors found a problem.
“I had some tests after COVID and something showed up on my lungs that concerned me. Some doctors say this is one of the things that no one seems to know. They said some patients are getting some spots on their lungs and so forth,” Morelli said.
All three survivors say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a learning experience in real time and they hope that many of the unknowns will be answered as we move forward day by day.
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