Brewton native contracts, recovers from COVID-19

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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Troy Hart doesn’t want any publicity.
He just wants to educate others about the experience he went through after being diagnosed and recovering from COVID-19.
Hart, a Brewton native, 2016 graduate of T.R. Miller and soon-to-be graduate of Auburn University, spent 20 days dealing with the virus that has swept across the country and world.
A private person by nature, Hart shared his experience via his Facebook page. He created a timeline, detailing his experience.
Hart, who is living in Pensacola, Fla. this summer with his grandparents, said during a telephone interview that the Florida Department of Public Health traced his infection to a bar in Pensacola.
“I had decided to go out with friends to eat dinner on June 13,” Hart said. “We decided that we’re going to go out to a bar after dinner.”
Hart said he worked at a bar in Auburn, and hadn’t even been out with friends since March, when he left school.
“I’ve been in Pensacola since March,” he said. “I hadn’t done anything. All of my friends and myself were talking that night when we decided to go out that we didn’t know anybody that had been affected by COVID-19.
“We were all sitting there and talking about it,” he added. “I know plenty of people who had gotten it now. In my eyes, I thought I won’t be affected, you know?”
Hart, who has had asthma since he was a child, said by the third day, June 16, he started to experience some low-grade fever symptoms, including a temperature of above 99 degrees. He said he began to take tylenol and expressed his concern to his grandmother.
“My chest was hurting, and I asked my grandmother if she thought I should go get checked,” he said. “Since COVID is a respiratory virus, she said, ‘I don’t think you have COVID. I think you would have more than a low fever.’ I said, ‘yeah, you’re probably right.’
“The next morning, my fever was 103.9 (degrees),” he said. “I was like, ‘I am sick.’”
Hart said he went to go get checked at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, and the worst was yet to come.
By the time he got to the hospital, his temperature was 104.7 degrees, and a nurse suggested he go get checked for COVID-19.
Hart said he was checked by a nurse, who noticed he had asthma, and was advised to go home, take tylenol and quarantine himself jus tin case.
“I stayed the same, but wasn’t able to break the fever from Wednesday to Sunday,” he said, adding that he was tested on June 17, a Sunday.
Hart said that same day, he got really bad body aches, where his hips and legs were hurting.
“I got up in the morning to take a shower, and I had to hold my self up on the wall in the shower,” he said. “At that point I knew that something wasn’t right. At that point, I still didn’t have breathing difficultuies, and something wasn’t clicking.”
Hart said on Sunday afternoon, Baptist Hospital called back and informed him that the test came back positive.
“I was like ‘OK, I’ve been taking tylenol, and calling Baptist to see what I can take to break my fever,’” he said. “Well, she said there’s nothing we can do. There’s really no treatment unless you need to be put on a ventilator. At this point, it had been five days and I couldn’t break the fever.”
Hart said he then began coughing a lot, and it got worse. Everytime he drank or ate something, it would come back up, he said.
“At that same day, I couldn’t smell anything,” he said. “I couldn’t taste anything. My body was still aching. Throughout that day, the cough seemed to get worse and worse and worse. As many times as I had asthma attacks, I was never put in a situation where I wasn’t weezing and couldn’t catch my breath. If I was having an asthma attack, I could take a treatment and be back to normal. I’d cough and I couldn’t stop coughing. That’s when I couldn’t catch my breath.”
Later the same day, Hart said he decided to go to Sacred Heart in Pensacola.
“Baptist was like unless you need to go get on a ventilator, don’t go to the ER,” he said. “They were doing that to protect other patients, and I fully understood that.”
Hart said the hospital got him back quick even though the ER was packed.
“I had a respiratory therapist, a nurse and physician doing several things at the same time,” he said. “A doctor talked to me figure out my symptoms.”
Hart stayed in the ER for eight hours, and his oxygen levels rose back to a normal level and his temerature dropped down to 100 degrees.
“At that point, they determined I wasn’t sick enough to stay in the hospital,” he said. “I understood that if I wasn’t sick enough to be put on a ventilator.”
On day 12, Hart said things started turning around in his favor. He said he woke up at around 4 a.m. that day and took his temperature.
“My temperature was 98.9,” he said. “I had not broken a fever until that day. I still had that cough, but I didn’t have a vever. I had body aches, but didn’t have a fever. When you dont have a 100-degree fever and all of the other symptoms, you feel a world better.”
Things started improving for Hart from then on. He said he got retested a short time later, and the test results came back negative.
“Today (July 6), I feel more normal,” he said. “Today has been my best day since everything happened.”
Since everything happened, Hart’s been asked for interviews from WEAR and WKRG, and even “Good Morning America.”
Throughout all of this, Hart said he wouldn’t have managed without a doctor friend of his, Dr. John Retzloff, a physician at Sacred Heart.
Hart said he talked to Retzloff daily, and was told to not panic and keep calm throughout the whole process.
Hart encourged those his age to take precautions.
“Take precautions,” he said. “Don’t make the same mistakes that I did and not take preauations and get sick. It’s not diffiicult to wear a mask. When I wear a mask, my oxygen levels are normaI. If I have a form of breathing trouble, and that it doesn’t bother me, it won’t bother you.”