COLORADO SPRINGS — In the fight against COVID-19, vaccines are the top headlines now, and rightly so. Still, it's important to remember that they are not the only tools being used in health care to fight the virus.
Dr. John Fleming, a board-certified psychiatrist in Colorado Springs, battled the virus himself and doesn’t want people to let down their guard just because vaccines are now available. He doesn’t want anyone to forget how serious a run-in with the virus can be.
Dr. Fleming says his COVID-19 story began on Monday, Dec. 14th, 2020 – oddly enough, it was the same day that vaccines first became available and healthcare providers began receiving their first dose. “I came to work on a Monday morning at 8 a.m. and by 9:30 I started feeling a little queasy. By 10 a.m. I was feeling the worst flu I've ever had in my life.”
He hadn’t been around anyone in his office that morning, and he immediately went home. The next morning, Dr. Fleming got a COVID test. While it took a couple of days to get the results, Dr. Fleming says he became nearly positive that it was coronavirus. “I had no appetite and at one point I opened up an orange and I smelled nothing, I tasted nothing. It was very strange, and that's when I knew for sure it must be COVID.”
When his COVID test came back positive, he was already self-isolating. For many, COVID symptoms can be mild, or seem like a cold or allergies, and some people have no symptoms at all, but that wasn’t the road Dr. Fleming was heading down. “The next week is really sort of a blur. I was sleeping about 18 hours a day, I had a lot of bone pain, but I never really got a fever.”
Dr. Fleming had several virtual visits with his primary care doctor who was advising him to rest, stay hydrated and closely monitor his blood oxygen levels.
Then Dr. Fleming says, “A friend happened to call over the weekend and said to me, ‘Hey, you should try one of those monoclonal antibody treatments.’ I had heard of them, but I guess in my sleepiness and confusion I hadn't really thought about it, and my doctor hadn’t brought it up.”
In our next story, find out how Dr. Fleming was able to get a Bamlanivimab infusion at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, what the experience was like, and how long it took for him to start feeling better.
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