LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Dinh Thai still has a dry cough that makes it hard for him to breathe.
“It’s crazy,” he said before he started coughing. “That’s the cough. It just comes out of nowhere.”
It’s clear from listening that the cough is deep in his chest.
“It’s really low, and I feel it also in the back of my throat,” Thai said. “And the combination of shortness of breath is what makes it scary.”
Thai, a freelance writer and director based in Alhambra, is nearing the end of a two-week illness that doctor’s said to assume was the novel coronavirus.
“I’ve never been this sick in my life,” he said.
It all began March 14 when he started to feel tired and achy.
“After a couple of days, I started to have a fever that didn’t go away and then I checked myself into the ER here in downtown Los Angeles and they put me through a bunch of tests that all came back negative, but they couldn’t test me for COVID-19,” Thai said.
Doctors sent him home with Tylenol and ibuprofen and told him to assume he had the virus and to stay isolated. A few days later he called 911, but paramedics told him to stay home.
“And [they said] that if they took me to a hospital, I would just be laying there without care,” Thai said. “I’m not afraid to die, so I didn’t think of it that way. I was more afraid that I would be suffering.”
Thai said he was able to get through it, but is more concerned about his elderly mother and what the virus could do to her, so he took to Facebook to warn others about the virus.
“The whole reason for posting that is to, I think, hopefully tell people that this virus is very real,” he said. “I’m relatively healthy, I’m 46, I’m not overweight. I don’t have any other medical issues, and I found it pretty tough to try to get through that middle part.”
And on top of his health concerns, Thai, like many, is now out of work. He said he has savings to help him make it through the short term, but he doesn’t know just how long this will last.