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Maryland Department of Health

CovidCONNECT

Rest was the Key for Wrestler’s Recovery

Regina & Robert Twigg
Howard County

“As a former wrestling coach we always taught that pain is weakness leaving the body and so I fought my symptoms. Resting and riding out the illness is what finally got me back on my feet.”   ~Robert

Whether it’s enjoying a visit from their 5 year-old granddaughter, or spending time with their son and daughter, being with family is a big part of life for Howard county residents Robert and Regina. 

Unfortunately in the age of the COVID pandemic, even these wonderful interactions can have a cost. Robert, 61, said he began to feel like he was coming down with the flu on March 20,  shortly after a family member who had been on a cruise and travelled through NYC stayed at the house. 

Three days later, Regina, 56, said she also began to have similar symptoms. In addition to the flu-like fever, Regina had a persistent cough and terrible headaches. Both lost their senses of smell and taste. 

Although Regina’s illness lasted for two weeks, the severity of her symptoms was mild compared to Robert, who experienced alarming fatigue and dehydration that eventually led to his hospitalization. The Twiggs had been unable to get a referral for a COVID test until Robert was admitted for treatment, when they were both quickly confirmed to be positive with testing. 

At the hospital Robert received IV fluids, and doctors worked to stabilize low oxygen levels. Although he had been hospitalized, Robert was quickly sent home after his initial treatment. Both he and his wife worried that he might be right back in the emergency room soon.

“This virus hits you with something like the flu initially and then much later after rebounding it kicks you again. I was just worried that I hadn’t seen the worst yet before I was headed home,” said Robert.

When he returned home the fatigue continued and Robert learned that giving in to full bed rest and sleep were his keys to beating his virus. “It was hard to stop fighting the illness, and focus on resting and I think that prolonged my recovery,” Robert recalls. 

The self employed business owner handed over the reigns of his business to a core group of employees and settled in for nearly three weeks of recovery. “I really believe this virus really messes with your mind. I struggled with the ability to focus,” said Robert.

Regina, a nurse from an area trauma center, said she was thankful that she had some of her own medical equipment at the house as she nursed her own husband through his recovery. 

“I don’t get angry with the resources we dealt with. I just try to keep in mind that everyone is learning as they go with this virus, so the way we approach dealing with COVID keeps changing too,” said Regina.

The Twiggs divided their home, isolating themselves so that their son who also shares the house would not risk infection. Although they were separated, they managed to maintain contact with their healthy social lifeline virtually.

As they recover, the symptoms began to subside and a sense of normalcy seems to be returning. Regina is still regaining her sense of taste, which has led to several over-spiced meals. 

The couple, married for 30 years, says their recovery together has given them a new appreciation for each other. They joked that since they are nearing retirement ages, it’s good to know they are ready to actually be around each other for a long period of time.

Like other recovered COVID-19 patients, Robert and Regina felt the need to give back to other patients experiencing their own COVID infections and recovery. They signed up to donate plasma, hoping to receive information about their antibody levels and advance medical research regarding COVID-19.