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McKENZIE — One local family suffering from COVID-19 is sharing their experience with the public in hopes of raising awareness about the illness and encouraging others to take it seriously.
Brad Campbell began exhibiting symptoms on Monday, April 6, followed by his wife, Courtni, two days later and son, Hudson, five, after another two days.
Brad was tested and received a positive result on Wednesday. He posted on the couple’s shared Facebook page about the lead-up to his positive test.
Sunday, Courtni made another post detailing in-depth the timeline of everyone’s symptoms.
As Brad emphasized in his original post, the family fully embraced the precautions recommended by health professionals from the beginning. Courtni and the children have remained in the home since March 17. They have used curbside grocery pickup. Brad wore masks and gloves while working. In his words, “We have done everything the ‘right’ way, and I still ended up with it... I have tried everything to keep from bringing this home to my family. Regardless of all of my efforts, here I am. At this point, everyone needs to treat this virus as if everyone around them has it. Don’t live in fear, but be smart.”
He noted that he had only recently recovered from pneumonia. “I definitely had a weakened immune system due to my recent struggle with pneumonia. I knew it would be a risk to expose myself. Please just take my advice and be careful.”
As noted in Courtni’s follow-up post, Brad felt fine when he left for work Monday morning, but had a fever by lunch and was “full-blown sick” by the end of the day. His fever was up to 102 degrees. He had a cough, body aches and a severe headache. He was seen at a clinic, where his blood-oxygen was between 90 and 92, causing numbness. His x-rays were clear, but he tested positive for strep. He was treated for that.
During the night, his oxygen dropped to the low 80s, and he woke up with pink-eye. His eyes were bulging and felt heavy. Another x-ray was still clear and nothing was found in his initial blood work. During that second day, his fever was reduced but still around 101. He also began suffering from lower intestinal distress.
Courtni describes day three as terrifying. They thought Brad would be admitted to the hospital as his condition was not improving. “We were terrified. Terrified to be away from each other... just the whole not knowing.” As he received his COVID-19 diagnosis, his temperature stayed near 100 despite around-the-clock Tylenol. “Nothing seemed to give him any type of relief.” His stomach issues remained, as did a loud, dry cough.
This day, Wednesday, was also the day that Courtni woke up with a fever of 99 and a dry cough. “My energy was wiped, but I had to take care of Brad and keep the babies away from everyone.” Her oxygen level was good, but she credits that to her “good lungs.” “[I] really never get down that bad with respiratory stuff so I felt confident that I would be okay.”
On Thursday, they received oxygen and nebulizers, which had a quick effect on Brad. Courtni wrote, “[His] energy immediately picked up. His body was no longer numb... It was probably an hour and the numbness was completely gone. We felt like everything was looking up.” His headache had finally subsided, but his other symptoms lingered.
Courtni was still on the decline. She was beginning to experience the same severe headache as Brad had, and her fever was near 101 (for context, her typical body temperature is 97.5). “My eyes, nose and throat were on fire. My chest felt heavy, and my left foot also went numb. This was an odd feeling... kind of felt like jello was sitting on my foot.” Both she and Brad were prescribed Azithromycin.
On Friday, Brad was feeling much better, but still had the dry cough and stomach issues. “He was actually taking care of me by this point,” said Courtni. “I felt like I was dying. This is the only way I know to explain it. Everything in my entire body hurt. My insides were aching. My chest aches. My collarbones ached. My knees... you name it, it was killing me. My headache was unbearable. It hurt all the way down into my spine. My head felt like it was being compressed. My face and teeth killed me.”
To make matters worse, Hudson developed a major headache and fever of 102. “He just laid there looking at us like, ‘what’s wrong with me?’. It was heartbreaking.”
At the start of Saturday, both Brad and Courtni felt similar to having the flu, a big improvement over COVID-19. However, by noon, Courtni was feeling worse again. “I felt hopeless and just wanted to cry... This virus is very odd. One minute you feel like you’re getting better and the next you’re knocked right back down.” Hudson woke up drenched in sweat, but Courtni said, “So far Huddy seems to be handling it much better than we did. This is something to be thankful for.”
On Easter Sunday, both Courtni and Brad’s condition regressed. She had to resume using oxygen (Brad had never stopped). Thankfully, Hudson was “doing great,” and daughter Shiloh, four, had not shown any signs of infection.
The couple slept on oxygen and woke up Monday feeling better. Courtni posted, “I’m almost scared to say that I think we might be getting over this finally. Every time I say that, we wake up a million times sicker Hudson and Shiloh are doing awesome! Hudson was sick for about two days. You can still see it in his eyes, but his energy is back to normal. Shiloh is more than likely asymptomatic. Her oxygen has dropped a little bit, but she hasn’t shown a single symptom other than that.”
Tuesday and Wednesday were good days as everyone felt better, but still tired. Then, Friday, Courtni reported that Brad was again regressing and was back on oxygen. Her throat was sore again, and she was fatigued. The kids were both doing well, except for some stomach pains for Hudson.
On Saturday, Brad’s oxygen was still hovering around 90-91. He made arrangements to return to the doctor on Monday, concerned that he had developed pneumonia again. Hudson’s stomach was still hurting and he had very little appetite, but he had regained his energy. Courtni was still dealing with fatigue.
The family was also suffering from the absence of Courtni’s oldest son, Xan. He was at his father’s when Brad first became ill, so he has remained there to avoid exposure. (That family also quarantined as a precaution.) Courtni said, “I miss Xan so much. It has been 20 days since I’ve seen him. I have never been longer than seven days without seeing him... This just hurts... I can’t wait until he gets to come back home.”
Fortunately, Brad’s x-rays came back clear and the family continued to improve. At last update, everyone was feeling much better.
Courtni expressed her appreciation to friends and family in the midst of the ordeal. “We have felt every single prayer. Every. Single. Prayer. We are so incredibly grateful that we seem to be making it out of this alive. I know that sounds awful but that’s the reality of this virus... Thank you so much for all of the kind words, thoughts and prayers.”