Q&A: Andrew Smith discusses recovery, what COVID-19 feels like

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Peter Loganbill, Collegian News Editor: “Hey, Professor Smith. How are you feeling at this point?”

Andrew Smith, professor of practice in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and chairman of the board of directors of Collegian Media Group: “Hey Pete, thanks for having me, I appreciate it. You know, boy, this has been a rough month. You know, at this point, we’re to the point now where the virus, we’ve managed to deal with the virus, and one of the things about this virus is that you still have to deal with all the wreckage that’s kind of left behind by the virus. So, my lungs are still healing from the pneumonia that it caused. My liver is still healing.

“I’m still being treated for blood clots that came as a complication of COVID-19. All those, and then you add to it, there’s a fatigue and an exhaustion that runs through this disease that, as far as we know, and we can tell, is kind of ongoing for a few weeks, you know, up to five weeks. I’m probably three or four weeks into it now, but starting to feel much, much stronger. So, I’m able to go back to teaching and I’m able to do some yard work and things like that.”

Loganbill: “I think we talk a lot about, in the news, and just when we’re talking about the disease, we talk about statistics, symptoms, information, but I wanted to ask you, what does it actually feel like? What does shortness of breath actually feel like?”

Smith: “That’s a good question because I think that most people have never experienced something like that, because it’s a serious complication of any kind of an illness. A couple of things that are the hallmarks of this are the fever, and anyone who’s ever had any kind of an infection or a virus that has caused a fever, kind of knows a lot of those pieces that come with that fever.

“The lung pressure, when you get that double pneumonia, both lungs starting to fill up, if you’ve ever sprinted full out, you know, for 100 yards, 200 yards depending on your fitness level, and at the very end you’re just breathing deeply and trying to catch your breath or you’ve gone up ten flights of stairs, it felt like that all the time.

“That pressure, you have a pressure on your chest. To get a good feeling of it, as you mentioned, lie face down on the floor and have somebody stand on your back and then see how your chest feels.”

Loganbill: “What do you want people to learn or take away from your experience? What have you learned from this experience?”

Smith: “You know, I think the biggest takeaway for me is that we all are connected, and that our actions affect other people, and we can help other people’s lives, or we can hinder it. In a time like this, you know, staying home and being safe is important.

“I think those things, helping our community, to me that’s the takeaway, that you know, we need to all be community focused, and understand that’s how we are, we’re interconnected. We had this great community support and people that have helped out, and people that were really amazing, to go shopping for us when we were in total quarantine, you know, things would show up on our doorstep. I mean, you know, we should keep doing that and find people that need help even after this.”

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I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.