Six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein, 55, was hospitalized for Coronavirus – aka COVID-19 – and he wrote a really thorough essay detailing what happened to him.
“I’d had a fever, migraines, body aches, my hands hurt so much. I lost my sense of taste and smell and had been monitoring the severity of my symptoms by the hour. My fever was always around 101.6, give or take. Tylenol seemed to be keeping it at bay, sort of. I was already on an antibiotic, an inhaler and a cough syrup with codeine so I could sleep at night. None of which seemed to be doing anything,” Danny wrote in his essay for THR. “The doctors told me if I ever started having trouble breathing that I should immediately go to the hospital. Many friends told me I should already be there. But I waited.”
“I was feeling listless and stuffy so I decided to take a shower on Sunday evening, March 22. Shortly after soaping up my face, my breathing became labored, I felt a tightening in my chest. I couldn’t seem to get enough air into my lungs. I felt light-headed and got down on one knee fearing I was about to faint or fall. I asked myself, ‘Is this it? Is it time to go to the emergency room?’” Danny continued. He was coughing up blood, and made the decision to go to the hospital. He added, “The phlegm this illness produces is like white, foamy plaque.”
“Our room was near the nurses’ station and I could hear the statuses of different patients. I heard about the many patients who coded while I was there. This “patient needed a ventilator,” or that “patient needed to be intubated” or “rushed to ICU.” At least every hour or so there was an announcement over a god mic, which everyone suddenly froze to hear, that announced an emergency in a certain room. “Patient in Room 12, in distress,” calling “every available doctor and nurse” to that room. Just substitute the room number every hour,” he added. “There were many ups and down during my five days in the COVID unit. I was given two antibiotics and the anti-malaria drug, Hydroxycloroquine. I think the latter helped me turn a corner, but I’m just not sure. The virus may just have run its course too.”
He ended his essay with an exercise a nurse had him do to keep his lungs as clear as possible.
“Breathing in through the nose, she said, ‘Smell the roses!’ and exhaling through the mouth she said, “Blow out the candles!” Now repeat that, strengthening each time. Smell the roses. Blow out the candles. Good things to remember,” he said.
Danny also added that his wife, Rebecca Luker, who revealed her ALS diagnosis a few months ago, “has started dealing with the virus as well now. She’s not been tested, but has all the symptoms to varying degrees. We are monitoring her closely.”
We’re wishing the family all the best.