ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – First, he lost his sense of smell. Then, he lost his sense of taste and within days worship Pastor John Dreher at Faith Assembly of God in Orlando lost his voice. He tested developed symptoms after he was exposed to a guest speaker who tested positive for COVID-19.
“I found out that Monday that somebody I had been in contact with the weekend prior actually was in the hospital with the coronavirus so at that point I felt like it was necessary to get tested,” Dreher said.
Dreher said he didn’t have any coronavirus symptoms for about a week. During that time, someone he had been in contact with tested positive for the respiratory illness. It wasn’t until a week later, he began to lose his sense of smell and taste and by the next Tuesday he had a fever. Four days later, he got a call from his doctor, he too, tested positive.
“It’s not a foreign thing, it’s not a far away thing. It’s here. It’s now and it’s real,” Dreher said.
The day after he tested positive, Dreher got a phone call from the Florida Department of Health informing him he must self-quarantine for 14 days. Though they weren’t tested, he was told doctors assumed his wife and two children had the virus, too.
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"You are stuck inside your home. You can't go to the grocery store. You can't pick up food," he said.
Dreher said his wife lost her sense of smell and taste and his children had minor coughs but none of their symptoms were anything like his, he said. His wife and children were not tested for the virus.
"I didn't have terrible tightness in my chest or things like that but my cough was uncontrollable and violent," Dreher said.
That was the most surprising thing, he said.
"Probably the fact that it went on as long as it did," Dreher said. "It's longer than you are used to being sick for. It's not a 3-day flue or a 24-hour bug."
He said his doctor only prescribed him a cough suppressant, and to fight the virus himself, he loaded up on Vitamin C and made sure he drank at least a gallon of water each day.
He said by day 10 of the 14 day quarantine, he was feeling better and by the end of the 14 days, he felt fully recovered. To be safe, Dreher stayed home for another 72 hours before finally coming back to church to post a video online thanking the congregation for their prayers.
“When you are facing an unknown that other people have faced and didn’t make it through, when you are on the other side of it you have no choice but to be grateful,” he said.