Postcards From The Pandemic: In The Hospital With The Coronavirus

Theodore Williams (right), a coronavirus survivor, with his wife Ella and grandson Isaiah.
Theodore Williams, far right, with his wife Ella and grandson Isaiah, is recovering from the coronavirus at home. [Theodore Williams]
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Theodore Williams spent 12 days in the hospital after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

COVID-19 has disproportionally affected African American people who account for nearly 50 percent of cases in Cuyahoga County, though African Americans make up only about thirty percent of the county population.

Williams felt he was not getting the care he deserved because of his race. 

Diagnosed with COVID-19

That was one of the worst feelings I ever had in my life. I couldn't hardly breathe, although I didn't have to go on a respirator, and my whole body just felt funny.

I didn't ache, but I had a real bad cough. That's what finally made me go to the hospital because I coughed so much that my throat got sore and my head went to hurting.

So I went to get something for my head, and they found out that I had coronavirus. And then I developed pneumonia.

The first five days they didn't really do anything for me. When I found out I had pneumonia, I kept complaining because I had a lot of buddies that died from pneumonia. And so when they finally started giving me medication, then I started feeling better.

Loneliness in Isolation

I felt like I was displaced. I felt like I was in prison 'cause I couldn't see nobody. And the nurses would come in and they would do their thing and then go. And then I'm in the room all by myself again.

And it got to be kind of lonely. Although, like I say, I'm not, I don't get down cause I always believe a better day is coming.

A Birthday Wish

I think while I was in there, I think it was two or three black people died with the corona. I couldn't hear that much, but, you know, you can hear code blue.

When you hear code blue, that means somebody is going around the bend. And I heard that three times. I never thought about dying. I thought about making it to my next birthday, which I did.

And I thought about getting out. That was my main object, was to get out and to be healthy. And my birthday was June 3. I was happy to be turning 69 and happy to see my family. Hadn't seen them in a while.

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