’I thought, it can’t happen to me’: Whitley County man experiences long term effects after COVID-19 diagnosis

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:32 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Whitley County teacher John Crisologo was like many throughout the country. He did not think he would be affected by COVID-19.

“I thought, well I’ll just follow all the guidelines that they’re saying. I thought I was at least a pretty safe person, we wear our masks we wash our hands frequently,” said Crisologo.

Throughout the pandemic, Crisologo and his wife and sons followed the guidelines and he went on with his life teaching 6th grade at Whitley County Intermediate School.

After attending a Thanksgiving gathering with his family, Crisologo’s wife and sons tested positive for COVID-19 and he shortly followed.

“You can’t go back on what you would think you know if I knew I was going to get COVID I would probably have not have gone to Thanksgiving dinner that day but you know it is what it is,” he said.

Crisologo had the most severe symptoms. He tested positive on December 4th and soon started to feel worse. He experienced chills and body aches at night as well as severe fatigue.

“I couldn’t breathe. My chest hurt and I couldn’t get a full breath. It was like a really short breath,” said Crisologo.

A few days after his test, he went to the doctor as he could not breathe easily. He was diagnosed with double pneumonia and sent home with medicine.

“I had never felt that tired in my life and I’ve run half marathons and this felt like running a half marathon at the very end after not training for one,” said Crisologo.

He was so tired, he could only lay on the couch. Crisologo said everything was a blur.

“I had no idea I was just sitting there withering away,” said Crisologo.

As he continued to get worse, he went to the ER where he was admitted into the last bed in the COVID unit at Baptist Health Corbin.

He spent six days in the hospital in a pressurized room. His oxygen levels were low and his liver enzymes were high. He was put on steroids and antiviral medication.

“I know God heard everybody’s prayers and started healing me. In my heart I know it was God’s doing,” said Crisologo.

When he was released from the hospital, Crisologo did not immediately get better. He still had a long list of lingering symptoms including short-term memory loss, cough, fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath.

“I suffered from this crazy it’s like a brain fog. It’s just like you lose all sense of time, so if I was sleeping for two or three hours I’d wake up and I’d think it was the next day,” said Crisologo.

By early January, he was anxious to get back to the classroom with his students but still, the long term effects still lingered.

“Every now and then you just think you know this is not how I used to be before I was sick and I used to not have memory problems,” he said.

The long term effects made usual tasks difficult including pacing the sidelines of a basketball court, taking pictures for local newspapers. His fatigue makes games a lot harder to shoot.

“Leaning, right under the goal I was laying on the little padded mat and I kinda caught myself in a dangerous position kind of dozing a little bit cause I was so tired and trying to catch my breath,” said Crisologo.

Even with the symptoms, he does not let them stop him from doing the things he loves.

“I love sports and it’s just very therapeutic for me to be out seeing them play,” he said.

Crisologo says he spent the whole month of December in quarantine.

He told WYMT he wants people to hear his story and realize the severity of COVID-19 and to take it seriously.

“You don’t realize that the ER was full of people, the COVID unit was full and people don’t know there’s other people struggling for their lives up there at the hospital,” said Crisologo.

Copyright 2021 WYMT. All rights reserved.