FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -Just days after running yet another full marathon this year and just ten months after climbing to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a Fargo man has been forced to the sidelines as he continues his battle with COVID-19.
“It feels like today my chest is like a lunchbox. There’s no flexibility to it, hard to breathe, hard to move around, walking up a flight of stairs exhausts me,” Lee Hoedl said.
It’s a grim comparison to where Hoedl was just two weeks ago.
“I ran the virtual marathon on my treadmill in under four hours,” Hoedl said.
In his late 50s, Hoedl describes himself as ‘healthy as a horse’ and at the top of his physical health with no pre-existing conditions— Which is why Hoedl says on top of more media attention on COVID impacting the old and vulnerable, he thought the virus wouldn’t be a big deal for him if he happened to contract it.
“All of a sudden it was like a tidal wave on top of me,” Hoedl recalled as fever, chills, body aches, a cough, and chest pain descended on his body on Nov. 19. Hoedl says he was later diagnosed with what’s called ‘covid lung.’
“My O2 levels started dropping and I ended up in urgent care. I never ever, if I were rolling dice, never ever would I imagine that I would ever contract this infection, that I would ever get it to this extent. Ever!” he said.
Hoedl says he and his family have taken every precaution they could the last eight months, but says it’s hard to stay safe when so many others in the community ignore science and common sense.
“When you walk out your door, you don’t just have a right to walk in this world. You have a responsibility,” he said.
Hoedl emphasizes he doesn’t want sympathy and says even if he isn’t able to run or climb again he’ll be ok. He adds while there is hope and a covid vaccine on the horizon, that’s no reason to become complacent.
“You can’t tough this out,” Hoedl said. “It’s indiscriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re a CEO of a company, if you’re a new bride, if you’re at the top of your physical game and you’re headed to the Olympics next week. It’s coming for you.”
Just last week Hoedl says he had his first and only antibody plasma infusion at a Sanford clinic with the goal of building up his own antibodies against the virus. He says 65% of patients who receive the therapy have stayed out of the hospital.
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