When Andrew Michael went to the USA for a holiday, he didn’t expect it to have such dangerous health implications.
The COVID-19 survivor – and father to one of Jonesy & Amanda’s producers – joined us to chat about his terrifying experiences of being hospitalised in isolation, and the one thing that he’ll never take for granted again. It’s also important to note that Andrew’s holiday was before any form of quarantine laws were enforced or travel restrictions.
Let’s just say that he never thought a trip to Las Vegas and Aspen could take such a disastrous turn!
“No one really knew what was going on. There was this vague notion about this disease… and the US, at the time, was considered an incredibly safe destination to travel to,” he explained.
“When we hopped on the plane to head home, I flew back via Auckland, and when we got wifi service back, all these messages came flooding through from a friend we travelled with who tested positive [for coronavirus], so the red flag went up there.
Upon hearing the news, the group made the wise decision to self-isolate as soon as they arrived back home in Adelaide. They subsequently contacted their GPs who then made arrangements for them to get tested at one of the city’s drive-through testing clinics to avoid any human contact.
Andrew then got the dreaded news that he had tested positive to COVID-19, but thankfully, his partner tested negative. This made him the 30th person in the state to be diagnosed with the virus.
“Even though I was starting to feel lethargic, and getting the odd wave of nausea, it was a bit like a mild hangover really,” he said.
“I lost my appetite and because we incarcerated ourselves in the house… which has a bit of a track around it, we were doing anything up to 20,000 steps a day trying to keep some fitness up.”
However, things started to go downhill.
“When you deeply breathe in, the last 20 per cent of the breath you let out is a giant cough, and that’s a classic symptom as well”.
He was subsequently hospitalised.
“The isolation ward is a very interesting thing in that all the doors have got positive pressure on them. Even if i had an axe in there I couldn’t have got out because they had to release the pressure on the doors in the isolation unit to actually open it,” he added before likening it to a submarine.
The nurses were required to get in all their hazmat gear to enter the room, and as Andrew rightly says: “They wouldn’t really like to do it just for a cup of tear or a biscuit”.
Despite all this, Andrew couldn’t speak highly enough of all the health care workers and their exceptional handling of the situation.
“It was a very new and frightening thing that nobody knew really, so I’ve got to tip my hat off to the health workers and how cheerful they were.”
Despite some time in this awful situation, Andrew has since tested negative to the coronavirus, and will never take for granted a simple stroll to the supermarket again.