A fit and healthy paramedic who caught COVID-19 at a nursing home has revealed how the virus took a horrific toll on his health after starting as a minor headache.
Steven Gelagotis worked at St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Melbourne and tested positive for coronavirus three weeks ago after he woke up with body aches.
The nursing home is one of more than 100 Victorian facilities affected by coronavirus outbreaks.
As his condition intensified over the following days, the 27-year-old said he began experiencing ‘every different symptom under the sun’, leaving him shocked at the debilitating impact the virus had on his body.
‘It has been quite the rollercoaster. I have been quite unwell… I had a fever and then it started progressing even worse,’ Steven told The Project.
‘After that, I started to become short of breath. Thankfully I didn’t have a cough and I don’t think it made it into my chest completely.
‘I had a runny nose, I’ve lost the sense of my taste and smell and unfortunately I had diarrhoea so I’ve had every different symptom under the sun.’
Steven said he started off with just a minor headache after going for a run in four-degree weather but dismissed the symptom as ‘just a cold’.
Like any young millennial, Steven said he assumed he would bounce back quickly as the coronavirus only affected older people or those with underlying health conditions – but he was wrong.
‘I did not prepare myself mentally to contract the illness this bad. I thought I was going to be okay, I look after myself, I exercise every day, I eat right and I’m a healthy young guy,’ he explained.
‘But I did not think that I would end up this unwell. Being alone and isolated in your bedroom, vomiting and having to clean up your own vomit and look after yourself, it was a bit distressing at times I must admit.’
The paramedic said he caught the virus at the St Basil’s nursing home when he helped a doctor translate English to Greek for patients.
‘My job was to translate in Greek with a doctor who was doing the rounds just to provide reassurance to the patients,’ Steven said.
‘It was nice to speak to those patients because they hadn’t seen their families for some time. It helped them and made them feel like their voices were being heard.’
Steven who has been isolating at home said his symptoms have since improved – as he urged Australians to follow social distancing measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the recent surge in cases in Victoria.
‘I am on the mend and recovering well. However, I just wanted to say this… The virus is real, it is happening, it is not a conspiracy and it can happen to anyone regardless of age,’ he wrote on his Facebook.
‘Please follow the advice of the government – get tested if you are unwell, stay home, wash your hands and most of all please wear a mask.
‘Thankfully I was wearing a mask most of the time and my close contacts did not contract the virus. Remember all the virus wants to do is find another host to infect and make more virus.
‘We have a brain, the virus does not. Do the right thing, if not for you, do it for your family. Take care everyone and stay safe.’