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A full house for quarantine

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While it’s impossible to know for sure, Kevin Eppard thinks he may have contracted COVID-19 at his doctor's office while seeking treatment for bronchitis. So right after battling one illness, he was dealing with the headaches, fatigue and near constant breathlessness caused by the coronavirus.

 

Kevin, 57, read one apt description of his symptoms as experienced by another COVID-19 victim and had to concur: “It feels like there’s glass in your lungs and when you breathe it’s on fire.”

 

Gradaully, Kevin, a parishioner of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester, found ways to rest comfortably and breathe. With a pulse oximeter, he was able to monitor if he was getting enough oxygen. Almost daily he consulted with his doctor and a friend who is a doctor via text and email. “Really, they were just trying to keep me from having to go to the hospital,” he said.

 

Some days he felt OK, while other days he was too winded even to text. “That was the frustrating part of it, because when someone has a good day, you think they’re on their way up,” said his wife, Donna. “It was like a roller coaster ride.”

 

Kevin’s doctor told him to get some fresh air once a day, and though it was painful to move, he was grateful to feel the sunshine. “It hurt, but being outside, feeling the sun, I thought a lot about the people in the hospitals who couldn’t do that or people who didn’t have a doctor friend like I had who was able to comfort me on a personal level,” he said. “It was very sad to think about.”

 

While Kevin recuperated, his family quarantined. His wife, two of their sons and one son’s girlfriend all had been around Kevin before he was diagnosed, so they hunkered down alongside the family’s three dogs. “I don’t think the dogs needed to quarantine but frankly we couldn’t give them away at that point,” said Donna.

 

The family had to stay around their home for about five weeks, including two weeks after Kevin recovered to ensure they didn’t develop any symptoms. None of them did. During that time, the family got by with the help of friends and nearby family who brought groceries and meals as well as messages of love and prayers. Still, the Eppards were relieved when it was all over.

 

“My first outing was one night when we ordered from Olive Garden and I went to pick it up. You would’ve thought I was headed to Hawaii for a month,” said Donna.

 

Once he felt better, Kevin was able to work from home. But recently, he’s been experiencing serious fatigue and vertigo, which may be a lingering effect of COVID-19. He’s hoping more tests will give him and the doctors answers. But for now, he said, “They just don’t know.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020

@ZoeyMaraistACH