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COVID-19 survivor warns ‘once you get it, it’s game on’

Nurses process a sample for COVID-19 after a patient was screened at a drive-up clinic set up by the University of Washington Medical Center Northwest Outpatient Medical Center on March 17, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

There has been a lot of focus on the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases locally and across the country, but the stories behind the numbers are important as well. Chris Milton, a friend of host Gee Scott, is recovering from COVID and feels lucky to be alive.

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He’s been battling COVID-19 for the last three weeks, and joined the Gee & Ursula Show on KIRO Radio to share his experience. Milton says he knows exactly when it was that he got sick. First, he assumed it was the start of a sinus infection, but quickly realized it was more than that.

“I’ve grown up with sinus infections, so you know what they feel like,” he said. “But then after that first 24, 36 hours, it didn’t feel like a sinus infection anymore. And then you started looking at all the other symptoms, and then you start reaching out to your own network, and you start realizing, ‘oh my gosh, I could quite possibly have it.'”

He got tested two days later and the results came back positive.

Milton says it’s been three weeks since then and just this past weekend, he ate his first meal. He’s a healthy, in shape guy, but says he’s noticed the impact COVID has had on his body.

“I look at myself in the mirror, and I look at my face, and I look at how sunken it looks,” Milton said. “I look at my body and I look at just how depleted my body looks.”

Milton said self-quarantining and being in a room by yourself, away from your family, is mentally challenging as well.

“It opens the door for so much mental stuff to come in, and for your mind to start going places where you never thought it would go, that you thought you were stronger than allowing it to go,” Milton recalled. “… Never in my wildest moment would I think that I would just be ready to go.”

Milton wants people to understand that this virus is real, and that it does not matter how tough you are.

“You go through stuff, and that’s how your mind plays tricks on you during this,” he said.

Over the past few weeks, Milton said he’s had no energy, no drive. Even walking down the hall was difficult at times.

“As simple as getting off the couch to walk to the bathroom and you have to catch yourself down the hallway because you find yourself about to pass out,” he said.

He’s been trying different methods and taking vitamins in hopes that it will help, but Milton says it’s the support of his friends and family that really kept him going.

“What happened for me is there were people around me, people like you, people like, again, family members and friends that reached out and were diligent about sharing love, and sharing my value, and sharing prayers and all of that kind of stuff,” Milton said. “Honestly, that’s what helped me keep fighting. … God just kept reminding me that he had people around me that need me and they’re waiting on me.”

“Once you get it, it’s game on. Until then, you’re basically kind of in pre-season,” he added. “You know the season is out there, but it’s just not game time.”

Milton hopes people start taking the precautions seriously to protect themselves and others.

“I think one of the largest disconnects is you have so many people that are using this as a political statement, and you have so many people that are using this as a political excuse to exercise certain ideologies as it relates to … partisan beliefs,” he said. “At the end of the day, … I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat … whatever the case may be, this is something that we’re all fighting for, that we all have to fight for and fight against. We’re all susceptible to it.”

Even if you don’t like to wear a mask, or don’t believe it’s effective, Milton urged people to wear masks consistently as a sign that we care for one another and for our families.

“If we can get people to start with that just fundamental mindset, then we could start moving the needle,” he said.

Decorate your mask with your favorite college team, with rhinestones, whatever you want, Milton says, but just wear the mask.

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As far as recovery, Milton thinks he’s past the peak but isn’t done yet.

“I can’t say that I’m through with it,” he said. “… I believe that I’ve gotten up to the peak of the mountain and I’ve got a couple of laps around the top of this mountain that I need to go. And when I say a couple laps, I’m trusting on God that I’m literally a couple of days out to be completely honest with you.”

“I’ve gone from not wanting to shower for over a week to not eating at all for almost three weeks, to just laying down and just feeling yourself just sink away,” Milton said.

He also says that there are things he knows he won’t do even when he’s fully recovered, and he definitely won’t be going anywhere without his mask.

“You’re still susceptible to it, I guess, I don’t know all of that,” Milton said. “All I know is this, that when I’m done with this, you will not see me without a mask on. There are certain things that you will not see me do going forward just because I’m not willing to play this game anymore.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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