A North Texas man hopes sharing his experience with COVID-19 while he recovers in the hospital will encourage others to take the virus seriously.
Andre Terry, a father and Dallas-based designer, is being treated at Baylor Scott & White in Irving after he tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday. Doctors have since confirmed he also has pneumonia, Terry said.
Terry said he initially did not display symptoms like coughing or a fever, but he did experience fatigue.
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“I’m a fashion designer, so I was just at home working,” he recalled. “Then I started getting real tired, literally having to stop in the middle of projects and was like, 'God, I got to lay down.'"
What were intended to be quick breaks sometimes turned into hours-long rests, Terry said. Knowing "something" was wrong but not knowing what it was, he said he got a COVID-19 test last Thursday.
“I was even too tired to walk back to my car. I had to go sit on a park bench and my car was just in the parking lot. I had to sit there and I thought, 'Something’s not right,'" Terry said.
The test confirmed he was COVID-19 positive on Saturday. Still, Terry said his symptoms were mild. He started to feel better until Monday, which is when he decided to go to the hospital.
He noticed a pain to the side of his body.
“At first I thought, 'Maybe I’ve been sleeping too long and slept wrong on the wrong side.' But then there was a little coughing here and there. When I took a deep breath, I could feel almost like a cracked rib or something," he said. “They ran some X-ray’s on my chest said I do have a fever. They were glad I came in, but it looks like they were going to need to keep me. I was like ‘Why?’ They said, 'Your chest is full of pneumonia.’”
According to the CDC, viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause pneumonia. In the United States, common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Who would have ever thought it was going to happen to me? I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t around anyone who was sick. I was paying attention to coughing,” Terry said.
He said he felt better Friday than when he first arrived at the hospital on Monday. However, he was unsure exactly when he can go home.
“I’m trying to be all manly and thinking, 'This is nothing.' As soon as I start walking around, I’m catching my breath. I’m still telling them, ‘Oh, I’m just overweight. It’ll be fine.’ They’re like, 'No, you’re breathing hard as we’re talking,'” he said.
He said he hopes people will take precautions, pay attention to any symptoms, and get tested in order to protect themselves and others around them.
“What I really want people to know is just be careful,” he said. “It’s really important, I think even when you’re around your friends, especially with these gatherings.”
This week, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council reported more than 2,400 patients in North Texas hospitals being treated for COVID-19.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.