Novi resident Lynus Parker needed help breathing for an entire month. But that was just the beginning.
NOVI, MI — If you asked Lynus Parker about his life a few months ago, he’d say he lived an average, but blessed, one. He never could have predicted the long journey ahead through a near-deadly coronavirus infection, or the miracle at the end.
“I was extremely fortunate to have a level of physical acumen that, at least for me, was on top of my game,” Lynus, 57, told The ‘Gander. “There was biking, or hiking, or fishing, or yoga.”
Lynus’ life shifted dramatically along with the rest of the country as the coronavirus swept through the nation, but in April, the virus hit close to home, first being confirmed in the office building of the software company he works for.
He self-quarantined but says that his wife, Kirsten Parker, was sick for two weeks.
“She lost her sense of smell and taste and at that point, it was like a lightbulb,” Lynus said.
Although he’d taken precautions to stay safe, the coronavirus had made its way into the Parker home. Even separate bedrooms for self-isolation were not enough to protect Lynus and Kirsten against the virus. Lynus’ symptoms began during the second week of his wife’s illness.
He went to the emergency room after he developed a low-grade fever and his monitored pulse oxygen levels dropped well below 80%, indicating hypoxia. Lynus was immediately tested for the coronavirus.
The test came back positive the next day.
Ascension Hospital in Novi administered a drug cocktail that included zinc, vitamins, and hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment for coronavirus often promoted by President Donald Trump.
“After about six hours or so, my fever started to come down,” Lynus said. It was the first time he’d felt some relief since first becoming ill.
He was later discharged from the hospital, but things took a major turn.
At home, Lynus’ fever spiked and his oxygen levels dropped lower than they had before his initial hospital stay. When he returned to the hospital, he says doctors told him that the drugs didn’t work.
Scientific Advice from Politicians
In April, when Lynus was diagnosed with the coronavirus, President Trump was holding daily briefings from the White House where he would routinely deny the severity of the virus’ impact across the country, contradict medical professionals, and make his own treatment suggestions, like using UV light to kill the virus in infected patients.
Though not quite as loudly, the president still sings the praises of hydroxychloroquine, even saying that he has taken it and experienced no negative side effects. He does not explain why he took a coronavirus treatment when he claims to have never had the virus. Science shows the drug is ineffective in treatment of the coronavirus and the FDA abandoned its use.
From Bad to Terrifying
The next group of physicians to enter Parker’s hospital room resembled something from a movie, he said. Typical hospital gowns and masks were replaced by full hazmat PPE as he was presented with his “best chance for survival.”
“I heard the doctors say, ‘we’ll put you on a ventilator for a couple of days to give your lungs time to rest and heal and everything should be fine,” Kirsten told The ‘Gander of a conversation she overheard between her husband and physicians. She had to communicate with them via phone since she was not allowed inside the hospital.
Lynus remained connected to the ventilator for 31 days.
During that time, he was unconscious and experienced vivid and often frightening dreams. When he awakened, he had no idea an entire month had passed. He was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation center where he stayed as therapists worked to reverse some of the muscle atrophy he now had.
In total, Lynus spent 88 days in the hospital and also contracted pneumonia while there.
Friends and family received him in grand fashion when he finally returned home on July 1. His wife and daughter used social media to organize a welcome home parade that still moves the Novi man to tears when he remembers the outpouring of love.
“I was so excited to come home,” he said. “They had a makeshift parade with 40 or 50 people from over the state coming to support me. I just had no idea that that was going to happen. And it was pretty special.”
Lynus now says he is simply grateful for life and is focusing on his continued recovery after his experience.
“I think at the end of the day we’re all learning more and more about this disease,” he said. “I feel saved.”