Coronavirus: Florida lawyer says COVID-19 ‘edge of hell’
Malcolm Anthony described COVID-19 as going to the “edge of hell.”
While coronavirus affects people differently, with some showing no symptoms at all, others have died or fought life-threatening symptoms from the disease.
Anthony, a 61-year-old criminal defense lawyer from Ponte Vedra Beach, wasn’t hospitalized. Still, he struggled with COVID-19 and said the experience changed him.
“I’m just thankful I have a life,” he said.
Anthony said he’s not sure when or how he contracted COVID-19.
He went to The Players Championship on March 12. The PGA Tour announced that evening that the rest of the event was canceled.
He went about his normal life and felt fine, including going to to restaurants.
On that Monday he went to traffic court, “which is sometimes a mass of humanity,” he said.
A couple of days later, he didn’t feel well. That Thursday he called his doctor, who told him to quarantine himself and had him tested for COVID-19. It took 10 days before the test results confirmed he was positive.
But by then, he already knew he had the disease.
In a written description, he detailed his experience from home when he was going through the worst of it.
“I wake myself up moaning in pain all night long,” he wrote. “Sleeping, my knees and hip joints crack and hurt when I move, or even when I don’t.”
He had disturbing thoughts and a fever. He sweat through pajamas, was too weak to stand up directly, had a rash and couldn’t eat most foods because the thought of doing so made him sick.
As the pain began to ease, he had severe chest pains that feel like spasms, but he decided not to go to the emergency room.
“This is not the flu. ... You do not want your worst enemy to go through this,” he said.
During his battle with the coronavirus alone in his home, people called and left food at his door. But it was hard to tell them what he was experiencing, he said.
“There’s no way for them to really comprehend what is happening. You felt like you couldn’t really connect. ... There was really no way to explain when they asked what you were really going through,” he said.
Anthony, a Christian, said that God helped him through the ordeal.
“At night in pain, it’s me and God, and I’m just talking to God. Feeling him tangibly with me helped me get through this,” he said.
Anthony said he lost 17 pounds from COVID-19 and feels like he’s aged 10 years, but he said he is grateful he didn’t have any respiratory symptoms.
Symptoms of the disease can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Emergency warning signs can include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face.
Some people develop aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, or loss of sense of smell or taste.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe regardless of age, and some people don’t have any symptoms at all.
Former Jaguars player Tony Boselli and his wife both had the virus, and both are in their 40s, but they had different experiences, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Bosselli had a fever on March 18, and several days later “he could ’barely move’ and felt wheezing in his chest,” according to the article. A chest X-ray revealed low oxygen levels. He was hospitalized in intensive care.
Boselli’s wife, Angie, never had to be hospitalized and had less severe symptoms with no fever.
A Jacksonville minister in his 40s had a “worsening cough,” body aches and “a terrible headache” before going to the emergency room at Baptist Medical Center South, according to the Times-Union. By then, he struggled to walk and breathe. He was in the hospital for about eight days.
For Anthony, recovery hasn’t come quickly. The first day he tried to go back to work, he realized he was too weak to do so.
He returned to work about a week ago, but walking is still difficult because of joint pain.
He said the experience has taught him how important friends are and how valuable it is to have people in his life that care and pray for him.
His profession involves helping people at the most difficult times of their lives, he said. While being empathetic was already part of the job, he said he will be more so after having gone through COVID-19.
“I feel resurrected ... like I’ve been given a new life,” he said.