A San Francisco nurse showed the shocking damage the coronavirus could do to the body in six weeks. The 43-year-old Mike Schultz did not think he was at risk, as he had no underlying health conditions and was physically fit. After six weeks on a ventilator, though, Schultz has lost almost 50 pounds and now feels like a skeleton.
Schultz first shared a photo of himself after six weeks on a ventilator and intubated on May 11, alongside a picture of himself from a month before he was hospitalized. “I wanted to show everyone how badly being sedated for 6 weeks on a ventilator or intubated can be,” Schultz explained. “Amongst other things, covid19 reduced my lung capacity with pneumonia.” At that point, Schultz said he was isolated from his family for eight weeks since medical personnel at Boston hospital treated him. “Getting stronger everyday and working to increase my lung capacity,” he wrote. “I’ll get back to where I was in healthier ways this time….maybe even do cardio.”
Schultz weighed 190 pounds before being diagnosed with COVID-19 and customarily worked out at least six times a week, he told BuzzFeed News Tuesday. He now weighs 140 pounds. He is finally able to start eating foods, and his lung capacity is beginning to return. He has been hospitalized since March 16, two days after he arrived in Boston to visit his boyfriend, DJ Josh Hebblethwaite. When he arrived, he was feeling sick but did not have a fever.
Before he was hospitalized, Schultz and Hebblethwaite, 29, attended the Winter Party Festival in Miami Beach, Florida. At least 38 people who went to the event were diagnosed with the coronavirus, and three men later died. “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.”
Schutz’s fever jumped to 103, and he began struggling to breathe. His lungs filled with liquid, and he was rushed to the hospital. Doctors sedated him on the first day. Four days later, he was taken to another hospital, and Hebblethwaite became Schultz’s medical prox. Schultz was intubated for four and a half weeks, and Hebblethwaite could not visit him. The nurses helped the couple connect via FaceTime, but it was “like he was in a coma,” Hebblethwaite recalled. “It was definitely scary. But I was so happy to see him at that point.”
Schultz was released from the hospital, and he shared a photo of himself visiting a farm in Berkley, Massachusetts, on Thursday. He chose to share the before and after photos to show “this is serious and can happen to you,” he told NBC Bay Area. There are now 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., reports Johns Hopkins University. More than 350,000 patients have recovered, and the death toll has reached 95,000 as of Friday night.