Updated: April 24, 2020 06:30 PM
Created: April 24, 2020 03:29 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A New Mexico man who recovered from COVID-19 is asking his fellow New Mexicans to stay home and practice social distancing.
Emmet Fowler, who started experiencing symptoms in March, was released from the San Juan Regional Medical Center on Thursday.
"I got the fever during spring break, but that was pretty much the only symptom I got," Fowler said. "I didn't have shortness of breath, I didn't have much of a cough."
Fowler said he couldn't get a test at the time because he didn't have enough symptoms.
"I had a coughing seizure just a few days before Easter, and I didn't realize how bad it was, and I said, 'Honey, we better go in. I think it's pneumonia, they're going to have to treat it,' he said. "I went in thinking I was going to be treated for pneumonia, they said no, you have a collapsed lung."
Fowler said he finally got a COVID-19 test on Easter, and they followed it up by putting in a chest tube.
"There's a part of me that felt safe, OK, I'm in a hospital," he said.
However, Fowler said the isolation started to get to him.
"In a normal world, you get flowers and cards, your family can visit you, it was very isolated, it was lonely," he said.
San Juan County is one of the hot spots for COVID-19 in New Mexico, and Fowler said he could tell health care workers were under a lot of pressure.
"Most of the nurses I talked to, who took care of me, said this is the most difficult thing we've ever had to face," he said.
Fowler said he had a fever of around 101 degrees for 16 days.
Now that he has recovered, he said COVID-19 was a "notch worse" than what he's experienced with the flu.
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