A COVID-19 Survivor's Look Back at 3 Months of Illness

Mike Minjares spent five days in the Intensive Care Unit back in April and is just now feeling close to 100% again

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It started with a fever, which didn't go away for 10 days.

A positive COVID-19 test, extreme fatigue, and a lung X-ray followed.

Then came the ambulance ride to the Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center and admittance to the intensive care unit, where doctors wavered on whether he needed a ventilator.

It was that first night in a hospital bed, when Mike Minjares reached the sickest point of his 52 years on earth, that he wondered whether he would ever see his family again.

"I don't know if I can do this" Minjares remembers saying to himself.

Minjares described the pain in his chest as "more of a tightness, more of acute pain, more of an acute feeling of, 'Wow, this just doesn't feel comfortable to me.'"

Three months later, the San Carlos resident uses words like blessed, fortunate, and lucky to describe his recovery. The recovery was harder than he expected, though.

I never want to go through this again

Mike Minjares

Minjares lost 12 pounds during his hospital stay, at times unable to withstand the exhaustion brought on by the simple act of feeding himself.

"A few days after I got out, I was able to walk the neighborhood," Minjares said. "About 10 days after I got out, I was able to get on my spin bike for about 15 minutes."

In fact, just this week, three months after his first symptoms, he was first able to describe his health as being back to 99%.

The only thing keeping it from 100% is a lack of sleep, something he started dealing with almost immediately after his hospital stay. Initially, he had vivid nightmares, something many members of his online COVID-19 support group say they have experienced as well.

"I never want to go through this again, I never want to go through this again," Minjares said.

The Minjares family drove from their San Carlos home to participate in an Irvine, California-based antibody test, which showed that all four members had previous coronavirus infections, reports NBC 7's Steven Luke

While Minjares got the worst of it, his wife and kids, who later tested positive for antibodies, escaped with few to no symptoms. Even though they're likely the safest family in town, they still wear masks in public and whenever they're within 6 feet of anyone outside their immediate family.

 "If we truly believe we're all in this together, then let's be in this together, let's wear the mask, let's show each other that your health is just as important as my health," Minjares said.

Minjares wants people to know that, while they don't get to choose how the virus impacts their body, they do have the choice to do everything in their power to prevent it.

CORONAVIRUS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: What You Need to Know: Latest Developments | Resources | How to Help | What Has Reopened? | Photos: Coronavirus Impact in SD

Contact Us