Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, head pastor of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, will be leading this Sunday’s virtual morning prayer for the first time since being released from the hospital for coronavirus.
Pace tested positive on March 10 and was treated at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth. Doctors believe he contracted the virus after attending a conference in Kentucky in February.
In his first interview since being released from the hospital, Pace told NBC 5 on Thursday he started feeling sick about five days after the conference. He tested negative for flu twice.
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After his fever went away, he attended an Ash Wednesday service on February 26. The fever came back the next day, he said.
“By the time it started to get worse, my breath started to get even more short. The cough got worse. It was a very productive cough. By the time I ended up at the hospital, I was having very difficult time breathing. I could only walk a short distance before I sat down,” Pace recalled. “This was the worst illness I have ever had. I’m 53 years old, and I have never been this sick. It was terrible. So this COVID 19 is no joke. It is a terrible, terrible illness. My fever got to 103, and it was very difficult to breathe. It was a terrible feeling.”
Pace spent a total of three days at the hospital. While in their care, he said he did not require a ventilator but was on IV’s to stay hydrated, as doctors monitored him constantly.
“I was in a room that had the negative pressure and these wonderful, amazing people came in – they had all the protective gear,” Pace said, referring to his physicians and other healthcare professionals. “I’m so grateful to them and they’re doing that every single day throughout the world. We all just need to be so grateful to these people and putting their lives on the line.”
Now testing negative twice for COVID 19, Pace said he is free to be outside with distance.
“I still don’t have the fullness of breath that I had before this is something I know will take a while but I am enjoying breathing, so I’m grateful,” he said. “One of the greatest things that we can all do is stay in and be there for each other by not letting this virus spread. Stay home and do our parts to make sure everybody has the chance to breathe.”
Pace’s wife, Rev. Dr. Jill Walters, has tested negative for the coronavirus but restarted a two-week quarantine.
The morning prayer and preaches Sunday will be streamed on Facebook and Zoom.