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'I really thought I was going to die': Healthy Jupiter man, 44, shares scary battle with COVID-19

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 18:39:54-04

JUPITER, Fla. — Nearly three weeks after feeling the first symptoms of the coronavirus, Mike Mangus of Jupiter expects to hear his infectious disease doctor tell him Monday that he's in the clear. However, he said he is not sure what that means yet.

Mangus said he started feeling symptoms, which included a fever and chills, on March 12.

“I never get sick. I know a lot of people say that, but my immune system, I've been very fortunate. I am 44-year-old guy. No history of health issues, no immune deficiencies, been fairly lucky with that, so I knew something was going on,” said Mangus.

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He said as soon as he started feeling sick, his wife decided to tell her job she would start working from home to be safe, but neither knew if it was COVID-19.

After a few days of fevers of 101 and 102 degrees, body aches and chills, Mangus said his wife convinced him to go to the urgent care on Sunday, which was March 15. He said he tested negative for Influenza A and B.

Two days later, his doctor was able to test him for COVID-19, but the results weren’t expected for another five days. On March 19, Mangus said things took a turn for the worst.

“My breathing really went down hill, and that’s when I got very scared. My lungs felt very compressed. I sounded like a panting dog. I could only take like quarter breaths,” said Mangus.

He called his doctor Friday morning and was told to go to the emergency room, so his wife drove him to Jupiter Medical Center.

“They wheeled me into a room, and from what I have come to understand, they shut down the orthopedic wing at Jupiter Medical Center and made that kind of a holding area for suspected COVID patients. I was the only patient in the wing at this time. I was the only one in a room,” said Mangus.

That Friday night, already one week into feeling symptoms, he said was the most sick he had ever been.

“I was gasping for air. I really thought I was going to die. I mean, I’ve never felt that close to death before. I made my peace with my maker, I thought that was it. I thought I was going to die alone in my hospital room,” said Mangus.

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He said he had taken off his nasal cannula, provided to supply oxygen, and was desperately searching for it in the middle of the night. He was able to put it back on and called on the staff for help. On Saturday, he said after starting a breathing treatment, his doctor, he said his doctor also put him on an anti-malaria and azithromycin med-combo.

Mangus said by Sunday he was feeling a lot better and praised the Jupiter Medical Center staff for their care. He said on March 23 he was released from the hospital.

Mangus learned his initial COVID-19 test had been lost by the lab, but the hospital had conducted its own test when he was admitted and those results showed he was positive for coronavirus.

“I just keep thinking if that was my mom in the hospital, there’s no way, there’s no way she would have made it because she’s 75. She’s had pre-existing conditions had her spleen out, is a six-time cancer survivor,” said Mangus.

He said there’s another scary part to this.

His wife who he says self-isolated with him in their home since Mangus started showing symptoms, never got ill.

“As contagious as this thing is, there’s no doubt in my mind she has it. There’s no doubt. I mean she has to, and she’s totally asymptomatic and those are the people that are scary,” he added.

Mangus. used his time at home to tell his story on social media and preach to others to stay home and flatten the curve.

“This isn’t something that you’re just going to get over in a day or two. I’m a real face. I’m a real person, I'm 44 years old, healthy, no pre-existing condition, no immune deficiencies, workout every day, and this thing brought me to the point where I was the most scared that I’ve ever been,” said Mangus.