Before contracting the coronavirus, Mike Schultz was a healthy 43-year-old—an avid exerciser with no underlying medical conditions. Eight weeks later, he's lost 50 pounds and is now on a long journey of recovery.
Schultz, who lives and works as a nurse in California, has shared before and after photos on his Instagram and Facebook accounts, showing an alarming transformation in his body during the 57 days he was hospitalized with COVID-19.
As reported by Buzzfeed News, Schultz was on a trip to Boston in mid-March when he and his boyfriend started feeling ill. The couple had recently attended the a week long Winter Party Festival in Miami, an event attended by thousands. The festival had ended on March 10—the day before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
"We knew it was out there," Schultz told BuzzFeed News. "There were no real restrictions in place, though. No lockdowns. We just thought, Well, we gotta wash our hands more and be wary of touching our face."
By March 16, Schultz was sick enough to go to the hospital—but his 103 degree fever and fluid-filled lungs were just the beginning. Within four days, he was taken to New England Sinai Hospital, where he was intubated for four-and-a-half weeks.
"I didn't think it was as serious as it was until after things started happening," said Schultz. "I thought I was young enough for it not to affect me, and I know a lot of people think that. I wanted to show it can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, have preexisting conditions or not. It can affect you."
Schultz told Buzzfeed that the photo on the left was taken about a month before he fell ill. The photo on the right was taken in a recovery ward. He admitted standing up just to take the photo was exhausting.
After weeks of being away from his loved ones, Schultz has finally back home. Today, he and his boyfriend celebrated his birthday with some Boston Market grub. "Nice to get out of the house for a little bit," he wrote on Instagram. "Able to do more and more every day."
Schultz explained on Instagram that May 6 was the first day he had really walked since being hospitalized. He mentioned that he still has "months of recovery" ahead of him. He wants people to understand the seriousness of COVID-19, even for people who seem healthy enough to not be affected by it—and he's not the first recovering COVID-19 patient to share this message.
"This disease is no joke people," he wrote. "If you think you're too young to get it, think again."
Wishing Nurse Schultz the best of luck, strength and resilience as he makes his way back to health.
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