Maryland Department of Health
Park Heights resident Michael, known as Moshe, helped a friend with some handyman work in the final week of March. Although they both knew the precautions they should take, they worked closely beside one another — and when the workday was finished, Moshe’s friend was beginning to feel ill.
Two days later his friend’s condition had worsened, and Moshe was also feeling sick.
The 64-year-old’s symptoms began with a low grade fever with headache, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Soon after, he visited a Baltimore hospital to get tested. When he got the positive result on the first of April, Moshe isolated himself and began self-treating his symptoms at home.
While in quarantine, he experienced several phases of the virus before eventually returning to the hospital ten days later. At first he felt so weak he couldn’t stand to shower, but began to feel a bit better the following week. Then, when he began to feel severely exhausted and suspected his oxygen levels were dropping, he returned for additional treatment.
“Everyday you may see a different side of this sickness. You need to get a diagnosis, be aware of your symptoms, and get to the hospital if your symptoms worsen,” Moshe advises.
The hospital discovered that Moshe was also suffering from pneumonia and kept him for seven days of additional treatment and bedrest. He was put on a cocktail of prescribed medications and began to battle the virus with sleep. He began to notice that the virus also seemed to affect him mentally leaving him unfocused and fatigued in the waking hours and sleeping fitfully. Although he suffers from a sleep disorder and does not often dream, Moshe began to experience nightmares as he battled the virus in his sleep.
Moshe said he was fortunate to have the Jewish Orthodox community of Park Heights surrounding him throughout his illness, so much so that he actually began to feel like an area celebrity of sorts. Instead of feeling loneliness or stigma, he experienced assistance, food supplies and friendly phone calls during his ordeal.
His advice to others approaching recovery is to get up, get outside, walk and be active. Working on getting his lung capacity back up seemed to be central to his own recovery.
Moshe began to feel a near full recovery after four to five weeks after his symptoms began. Although now he feels nearly normal, Moshe confessed that he felt changed by the experience of contracting and recovering from the virus.
“It changed me somehow – in some way that I couldn’t put my finger on. I was not the same person I was before,” he says.
Like other patients recovering from COVID-19, Moshe is grateful for the medical care he received and is looking to give back to patients just like him. In addition to describing his experience with the illness to COVID Connect, he has donated plasma and is participating in a University of Maryland study on post-recovery COVID antibodies.