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I GOT COVID IN DISNEY WORLD!

I have read so many X-rays over the past two years and three months of people afflicted with COVID. As a radiologist, I bear witness to the onset of COVID from the first variant to the most current. I’ve seen chests fill up with fluid and inflammation to the point of destroying the lungs. I have seen the Delta variant show up with florid, rapid onset pneumonia. I’ve seen the Omicron variants have not shown as much pneumonia and frankly, the past three months, I have been relieved as I interpreted Chest X-rays that did not show pneumonia at the outset.

My daughter has had some health challenges since November. These challenges were from new treatments for her epilepsy including brain surgery in March. Because of this, the three of us did not get booster shots. So it was with trepidation I went ahead with a trip to Disney World for our entire family: wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. This was a trip almost a year in planning. I read that in the past three weeks, COVID cases were on the increase along the east coast with the newest variant up almost 31% in Florida. Should I cancel our trip?

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My son’s family had COVID around the first of the year. Both my son and daughter-in-law had booster vaccinations. But, because of my daughter’s surgery and trying to work out scheduled visits four hours away in Houston, the three of us never got around to it. After much thought, we went anyway. And we wore our masks. BUT, most of the people in Disney World were not wearing their masks. I should have been more careful.

Two days after arriving in Disney World with my son (we drove down 15 hours to avoid the cost of renting a van and three car seats) I started feeling weird is the only way to describe it. Now, I’m a physician and I’ve taken care of hundreds of patients in the past two years or so who had COVID and never had problems. By Tuesday night, I was having nasal congestion and it just didn’t feel like a regular cold.

Wednesday, I was a walking zombie is the only way to describe how I felt. I had no appetite. My taste and smell were fine. Wednesday night I began to choke on nasal secretions and I knew Thursday morning I had COVID. I had tested myself Wednesday and it was negative. Thursday morning, the little red line showed up at 3 minutes! You’re supposed to wait until 15 minutes to see a positive test.

I went to a local stand alone ER and they jumped all over me with intravenous steroids, monoclonal treatment, I.V. fluid, and a breathing treatment and put me on a Z Pack, steroid dose pack and an inhaler! I must admit about thirty minutes after the steroid and monoclonal infusion, I was feeling pretty spiffy.

Back to the room now in quarantine while the rest of my family enjoyed Disney World. I was pretty bummed out. Especially when my wife and daughter got sick Friday and tested positive for COVID. It was especially galling when my wife called me from the same ER because the doctor, a different one from the doctor I saw, was miffed at me that I had gotten their last dose of monoclonal infusion! I said I wasn’t the one who made the decision how to treat me. In fact, he told my wife and daughter to take over the counter medication. After talking to one of Casey’s health care providers, we opted for a conservative approach.

Fortunately, our symptoms were moderate. But the real problem arose. How were we to get home? My son and I were supposed to drop everyone off at the airport Saturday morning to fly home and he and I would drive the 15 hours home. Now, I had to buy him a ticket. Problem was, he had driven from Abilene to my house in Shreveport and this is where his car was located. He did this to deliver two car seats to take in my van. Sherry and my daughter had driven three hours to Dallas DFW Airport and parked in the long term parking to meet my daughter-in-law and three grandchildren driving three house from Abilene so they could all fly out together to Orlando.

Now how would we get the cars straightened out? It was obvious three of us would be driving back. We couldn’t fly with active COVID! So we set out Friday afternoon driving for home and left my son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They flew home safely Saturday and my sister-in-law was kind enough to drive my son’s car to Dallas to pass off to them and pick up my wife’s car and drive it home.

Bottom line: I don’t care what you think about masks. I don’t care what you think about vaccinations. All I know is I got COVID at Disney World and it ruined our long planned trip for my grandchildren’s first visit to Disney World. Did you read that? I GOT COVID AT DISNEY WORLD!! IT WAS NOT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!

If you are going this summer, be careful! Don’t hesitate to get boosted. Don’t hesitate to wear a mask in large crowds. COVID is surging again and granted, it is the more contagious, but less deadly newest variant. But, if you get it, it will ruin you carefully planned trip. And, it may ruin your life!

Thank God, we only have mild symptoms so far. I am hoping and praying it stays that way. So BE CAREFUL! Don’t take this for granted. A little precaution can save your day. And, maybe your life!

Now for the humor. I told someone I had Disney COVID so every time I coughed I sounded like Sneezy (or Wheezy, or Croupy, or Grumpy). And I had a touch of gastrointestinal effects and lets just say driving for 9 hours on Saturday we had to stop way too often for me, Whiny the Poop! Sorry, too much information!

If you go, seriously, let me recommend:

Wear your mask in large crowds.
Wear your mask in any attraction line.
Wear your mask on all attractions.
Use the hand sanitizer every time you get on and off an attraction.
Wash your hands over and over in the bathrooms.
And, I recommend picking up a home COVID test the minute you get there or bring your own because the tests will be in short supply as this new surge peaks in Florida!

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