A foggy two weeks on family porch

Monitor staff
Published: 7/11/2020 4:23:38 PM

Neil Levesque seemingly did everything right.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, he went to gatherings only when absolutely necessary, he washed his hands and made sure everyone in his house – including his teenage daughter – did the same. On the rare occasions he did venture to the store, he wore both an N95 mask and a full face shield he ordered off of Amazon.

“I thought I would be the last person that got it,” said Levesque, the executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

Yet, one morning at 2 a.m, the Concord resident jolted awake with an upset stomach and a fever. Thirty hours later, a test confirmed his fear; he was positive for COVID-19.

He immediately quarantined himself away from his wife and daughter on the porch, where he would stay for two weeks.

Levesque says he can’t remember much about his time on the porch— he was in and out of consciousness for most of it.

He does remember bits and pieces. Struck with a terrible bout of chills, he remembers piling on winter jackets and a pair of wool long johns from a box on the porch that thankfully hadn’t made it into storage. He remembers showering with a 5-gallon bucket of water to avoid going into the house and putting his family at risk. Mostly, he remembers laying on the couch, feeling like he was hit by a truck.

The canned soup he stocked up on at the beginning of the pandemic was useless. The only thing he could get down was water and Gatorade. After a couple of days, his daughter left jello for him outside the door to the porch but Levesque couldn’t walk the 10 feet to the door in order to get it.

“I’ve had influenza, mono, I’ve had many things,” he said. “This was much, much worse.”

Although he has technically recovered from the virus, he still has lingering cognitive symptoms and struggles to go on walks without exhausting himself. He still worries about some of the serious, long-term effects of the virus, like blood clots.

Last week, he posted a detailed account of his experience with COVID-19 on Facebook. He didn’t want to frighten or anger anyone — he wanted people to make a plan in case the virus struck them.

On his list of necessities was bottled water, Pedialyte, strategically placed thermometers, disposable tableware, a full tank of gas, and jello (listed twice).

For those who live alone or are a primary caregiver, having a plan of action could save their lives, he said.

Even though Levesque may have some immunity to COVID-19, he still wears a mask while shopping and he still sees many others not wearing masks, like during an outing earlier this week to Walmart.

“You’re never going to save America by wearing a mask,” a stranger yelled at him in the parking lot.

Levesque lowered his mask and informed the man he just recovered from COVID-19.

“He didn’t hang around for a follow-up,” he said.

Levesque said he isn’t resentful when he sees people in stores without masks or when he receives antagonistic emails about his Facebook post. He’s sad.

“I think, God, they are going to have such regrets when this strikes,” he said.

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