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Checking In With One Of Centre County's First COVID-19 Patients, On Day 19

Dean Lindsey on day 19 of his recovery from COVID-19.
Dean Lindsey

A couple of weeks ago, we talked with State College resident Dean Lindsey, who said he was one of the first people in Centre County to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Lindsey is the senior pastor at State College Presbyterian Church.

WPSU checked in with him again to see how he’s doing now. 

Emily Reddy: Dean Lindsey, thanks for talking with us again.

Dean Lindsey: Well, it's, it's good to be here and to be able to talk.

Reddy: So before I ask how you're doing now, I want to play for listeners how you told us you were feeling back on day four with COVID-19.

Lindsey: It is horrible. This is like the worst flu you can imagine. It presents with, you know, with the onset of fever and a dry cough, bad headache, bad muscle aches. But then as it progresses and you get different nasty symptoms, like the dry cough turns into a productive cough and then your other aches and pains and and now just huge fatigue. I can't accomplish anything right now.

Reddy: So despite that description, you called this a "mild" case because you weren't hospitalized. You were quarantined at home. How did your sickness progress after that?

Lindsey: Well, it's terrible to listen to me on day four in your recording, but actually, it got worse from there and really quite, quite miserable. For me, a big setback was on day nine and 10. I'd had a couple of days with not as bad and the fever had diminished, just a little touch of low grade fever and part of the day. But then on day nine, the fever really came roaring back and day 10 was really a crisis day. I didn't have to go to the hospital, but I'd say that day I came close.

Reddy: So that was day 10 you're on day 19. How are you feeling now? You sound better.

Lindsey: Oh, so much better. So, I've had over five fever free days now. The symptoms have all abated and I'm ready to return to life. My doctor wants me to remain isolated for seven fever free days. So I'm counting off the days. And I look forward to kind of being out and about a little bit more. Strength is a real issue because it just when your body's been beaten up like this and lying flat for two weeks, it really depletes you. So I don't have much strength at all right now. 

Reddy: And you know, we didn't talk about this before, but age and health of those who get COVID-19 factors into survival rates. I wondered how that factored in for you, if you don't mind sharing with us, you know, what your age and general health are like? 

Lindsey: Well, I'm 59 years old, but I'm very physically active. I mean, I run. I mountain bike quite a bit. So, I mean, I can easily... Well, before I got this, I could easily go out and ride my bike in the mountains for three or four hours. So I'd say I was probably in about as good a shape as you can be for some of my age. So I think that certainly helped me but it didn't protect me.

Reddy: What was the hardest thing about having COVID-19?

Lindsey: Well, I think the the worries are really the worse. The virus wants to get down in your lungs. And so you you worry about having those more severe symptoms that lead to pneumonia. And then, you know, I didn't want my family or anyone else to get this. My daughter did have it and she's fully recovered now. But...

Reddy: She caught it the same time as you, when you were visiting your mother in New Orleans. Right?

Lindsey: Right. She was in New Orleans with me. She was a little ahead of me in terms of getting it, but also getting over it.

Reddy: And you said you didn't interact with anyone in State College when you returned from New Orleans. You're been shut in your room away from... Did anyone else in your family end up getting it?

Lindsey: No, quite fortunately not. That's great. Yeah, including my mother. So... who we were with in New Orleans. So we've been fortunate, very fortunate in that regard.

Reddy: So are you still quarantined in your room? Are you able... you have to wait those seven days until you can leave your room even?

Lindsey: Well, at this point, I go outside and walk around a little bit in the backyard and that sort of thing. Also, it's really wonderful... I did get to tape the, the worship service for Palm Sunday, this past Sunday. And then later this week, I will be leading some worship services and including Easter. So, for me, I mean, it really it's a feeling of resurrection. Like I get to participate in Easter, and I'm really looking forward to that special day.

Reddy: Because you're the senior pastor at State College Presbyterian Church in State College. I wondered as, as a religious person, you know, do try and find meaning in something like this?

Lindsey: Well, I guess we all do. I see such possibilities for a new sense of community and renewed connections and relations among people caring for each other. I know it's happened for me. I mean, I've been very supported and very encouraged all along the way here. And so, I hope others who are going through really hard times can have that same experience of finding support among friends and community and in churches.

Reddy: I wonder, you know, as we see the rising number of people test positive for COVID-19 and some, some of them dying from it, you know, how do you feel watching that?

Lindsey: Well, I feel terrible for those folks. And It's good to see that in, like, in Centre County, the incidence of the virus still seems really rather low. Where I'm from in New Orleans, my hometown, it's just been devastating there. And we've lost family friends. It's just heartbreaking. And it's like we did such a poor job on the front end, like getting ready and taking the proper precautions. 

Reddy: Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

Lindsey: Oh, I'm just so happy to be doing better. And, and I am grateful for my family and friends and church members who supported me in prayer and sending good wishes. And it's, it's good to be on the on the tail end of this.

Reddy: And we had a lot of listeners who asked how you were doing, so they'll be glad to hear you're doing well too. 

Lindsey: That's so nice. That's so nice. Yeah. 

Reddy: Well, thanks for talking with us, Dean Lindsey.

Lindsey: Okay, well thank you so much, and I hope you stay healthy.

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.
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