"It is a truly miserable experience," said Michael Bane. The 42-year-old is three days into his COVID-19 treatment at Rush University Medical Center.
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"It feels like it breaks you after a while; you just can't go on and try and fight it off," he said.
The father and attorney said he first started showing symptoms nearly two weeks ago after coming into contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus.
"For a couple of days I had really mild to non-existent things happening, and it was last Sunday when I started noticing I was just in a tremendous amount of pain to the point where I couldn't sleep," he said.
Bane made it a point to isolate himself from his wife and 2-year-old daughter before he called his doctor, who said he should get tested.
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"It's surreal; you pull into a designated parking spot, I was waived out of my car, walked into a secured building, told not to touch anything, not to take my hands out of my pockets," Bane said. "Thinking that only older people or immuno-compromised people are susceptible-I'm neither of those things."
Four days later the results came back positive. By that time, Bane was being admitted to Rush's emergency room.
He said he wasn't sure if he was going to make it.
"I came to the hospital because I was worried I was going to die," Bane said.
Bane is still battling high fevers and has difficulty breathing, but said he has the highest respect for those treating him at Rush, going as far as to call them heroes.
"If anyone ever wants to say someone's a hero, our medical care professionals right now deserve the credit in the world for what they're doing," he said.
Looking back, he said he wished the federal government had taken this virus seriously much earlier.
"Had that been a couple weeks sooner, I probably would have been home already," Bane said. "I would have never been out and about catching this and I wouldn't have been at work for seven days asymptomatic, exposing hundreds of people to it.
So far none of his friends or family have shown any symptoms and his message to those watching - please, stay home if you can.
"Just protect the people you love, that's really it," he said. "We all need each other to get through this and I don't want my family getting it, I don't want your family getting it."