Chukk Nielson, director of clinical services for Life Care’s Northwest Division, is just now feeling back to normal after having COVID-19 at the end of December and beginning of January 2021.
When someone Chukk had had lunch with tested positive for COVID and contacted him to let him know, he couldn’t know how the virus would impact him personally.
“I was very, very sick,” Chukk remembered. “I had a fever of 103-104 on and off for about a week and a half. I was delirious, and my fiancé told me I was hallucinating. I was air hungry, and my body aches were so severe that I’d fill the bathtub with water to keep the pressure off my body. The headache was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. I just ached everywhere.”
Chukk is thankful for his regional nurses for their support, as well as for his fiancé for taking care of him.
Slowly, Chukk started to feel better. When he could, around mid-January, he started to work from home, checking in with the facilities in his division. However, he experienced “long COVID” or “long-hauler syndrome.”
“I had to rest when I could rest,” Chukk shared. “I had insomnia, and some days I couldn’t sleep, and other days I would sleep for whole days.”
It wasn’t until mid-February that Chukk was feeling well enough to come into the divisional office again some, and even then, there were still days when he couldn’t work through the whole day.
Once he was cleared to do so, Chukk got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, where he had served as a nurse during the outbreak in March 2020.
“As a nurse, I was empathetic then, but now I truly understand,” Chukk said. “Seeing what some of those residents went through in their seventies and eighties – those residents are the true warriors for surviving.”
With his personal experience with COVID behind him, Chukk has some advice for others in the health care field:
“I was really stubborn,” Chukk said. “I learned that you have to be able to accept help from others and take heed of the advice our health leaders are saying. Those precautions are really important.”
He also advises staff not to be afraid of the vaccine. He himself completed his set of vaccinations early this year and has now had a booster.
“The fear of the vaccine should be outweighed by the fear of what COVID can do,” he said.
Chukk, thank you for your dedication to our residents and staff, and for sharing about your experience.