My Corona: Darien man keeps a journal of his virus journey
Italics indicate journal entries.
“Today’s a bad day.”
Forty-one year old Darien resident Daniel Coonan sounded unwell on the phone. He’s coughing in between his sentences and said his breathing is shallow.
“You know when you go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air? I can only get about two thirds of the way,” he said.
“Almost immediately after I joined my family for lunch I started to feel severe muscle pains and even had trouble walking that afternoon and into the evening. It was soon coupled by a heavy dose of fatigue and a powerful headache.” — Saturday, Daniel Coonan’s journal
Coonan has been documenting his symptoms and experience with COVID-19 since his first day of symptoms, March 29 on his journal, My Corona. His doctor diagnosed him over the phone — with the doctor saying he’d heard from several patients, men between the ages of 25 and 50, who shared his symptoms. His doctor told him it was too risky to go to get a test or go to the hospital — unless he got sicker.
“It was better to stay home and isolate — then call if your breathing gets worse,” Coonan said.
“Woke up very late and felt like I got hit by a car. My entire body was shut down. It wasn’t the normal aches and pains you experience with the flu but more like my muscles had become useless and unresponsive - they had other things to do.” — Sunday
Coonan had gone on a run that Saturday, and said his body “shut down” shortly after. Coonan went to bed and for all intents and purposes didn’t get up again until Monday, March 31.
“I explain the situation and symptoms to my doctor and he, without changing tone, says, ‘Sorry you are sick. You have COVID. I’ve been taking these calls day in and day out and you definitely have it. No need to get tested.’” — Monday
In his journal, Coonan described the phone call as “difficult” and added that his eyes teared up when he hung up.
He told his wife, Fitnat, and children Eliz, 9, who attends fourth grade at Hindley School and Lilia Coonan, 5, who attends the early learning program at Royle. The couple’s youngest daughter, Audrey, is 1.
“My eyes are starting to burn and my nose is getting stuffed up for the first time which is making it harder to breath. This is new and unwelcome. The headache doesn’t help and my throat is really scratchy.” — Monday
Coonan is quarantined to the top floor of his home. His wife, who works at UBS, is working from home while facilitating eLearning for his fourth grade daughter.
“I’m on day 7 now. I felt like it had plateaued. But I have been getting worse the last 48 hours,” Coonan said.
Coonan said there is a lot of advice about where to get tested but not a lot about the other aspects of dealing with the virus. One thing he’s been thinking about is packing a bag in case of having to go to the hospital. One thing he initially needed but was unable to find is a pulse oximeter — which he was able to obtain from a family member.
“A friend recommended that I get a pulse oximeter (had honestly no idea what that was) to measure the oxygen in my blood. But seems that those are being hoarded as well given CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, etc. are all sold out online and in store. Seems like a critical, small piece of tech to tell people when to go to the hospital…and when to stay home.” Wednesday
“I’m sure there are a lot of people, like me, who have symptoms and are home and scared. They’ve been told not to go to the hospital because they are dangerous and could increase your systems. This really messes up your family life,” Coonan said.
Coonan said it is particularly hard on the kids, who are staying indoors most of the time to quarantine, and he’s sick and unavailable in person.
Coonan says he has had a Facetime-only relationship with his family since he got sick. He said his children miss him but are also nervous about his illness, especially his 9-year-old.
“My 9-year-old is taking it harder than anyone. She’s my buddy and not only misses her daddy but is also old enough to understand what is happening in the world. She is worried I will get sicker, or worse, because she knows it is happening to other people. I try to reassure her that I’ll be just fine and I hope (and am pretty sure!) I’m right.” — Thursday
As far as what he or his family needs, Coonan said he’s in “pretty good shape right now.”
“My wife has been taking good care of me. She’s amazing,” he said.
Some of those who have read the blog have sent Coonan and his family care packages, including a friend from MiniMelts, the ice cream company, who sent something to cheer them.
As to why Coonan started the journal — one his friends suggested it would be good to document. While it seems to share personal information, for Coonan, he says writing it feels “Strangely observational.”
He also said he’s gotten a lot of feedback.
The most recent entry includes a suggested list of items that those who feel ill can put together just in case of emergency quarantine and/or hospitalization. Categories include monitoring equipment, medications, hydration, food, organization, and connection like phones and laptops.
Coonan said he called his doctor back Friday to tell him of his worsening symptoms — and he told him to call back on Monday to update.
“The doctor said testing and treatment is changing “almost by the hour” which is why I should call back on Monday with a symptom status. And he reiterated I should not get tested as there is nothing to confirm. I have COVID,” Coonan said.
The Darien Times will continue to share the most recent entries of Coonan’s journal. If you need help or have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus