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Alabama’s first COVID-19 patient shares experience after recovery

The first person in Alabama to test positive for coronavirus is recovered and ready to talk...
The first person in Alabama to test positive for coronavirus is recovered and ready to talk about his experience.((Source: WSFA 12 News))
Updated: May. 8, 2020 at 7:02 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The first person in Alabama to test positive for COVID-19 has recovered and is ready to talk about his experience.

“No sore throat, no cough or anything. Just a fever chills the achiness,” William Carter said of his symptoms. “Then I noticed that my breathing, I just felt tired like I have been running or something.”

That was mid-March, just days after Carter got home from a trip to Illinois. A few days after that, he was in the ICU for about a week.

“The reason he was transferred to the ICU is because his blood pressure was a little low, heart rate was high. He was also on oxygen; It took us forever to get him off oxygen,” one of Carter’s nurses, Ben Wingate, explained.

The first person in Alabama to test positive for coronavirus is recovered and ready to talk...
The first person in Alabama to test positive for coronavirus is recovered and ready to talk about his experience.((Source: WSFA 12 News))

Even after Carter went home, his lungs weren’t as strong as they should have been and his recovery process wasn’t over.

He had to use a breathing spirometer.

“It’s like weight lifting for your lungs,” Wingate said. “It forces you to take deep breaths.”

“I was told to take five deep breaths of that every hour. Also, check your temperature in multiple times a day,” Carter said about his at-home recovery. “Also, we have a little oximeter at home, so we check your oxygen levels, and I noticed each day that my oxygen level I was gaining each day.”

Carter now feels fully recovered but nothing is the same as it was before.

"Anything that comes into our house now, it’s getting wiped down with Lysol wipes, Clorox wipes. I don’t care if it’s a loaf of bread or if it’s water. Any packages that come from Amazon getting sprayed down with Lysol. "

Carter says some changes have even been an improvement.

"I actually lost over 30 pounds since all this started," Carter exclaimed. "I'm a diabetic. Since I've been home and since my recovery, my numbers are a lot better, my glucose numbers, haven't taken much insulin, taking my daily oral medicines. By losing the weight, I think it's helped my health conditions quite a bit, too."

Still, Carter is frustrated that as this pandemic continues, more people aren’t being serious about the public health orders in place.

“It really irritates me to see people not taking the necessary precautions,” said Carter. “It bothers me not to have people not wearing a mask when I go out, that really bothers me. By me wearing a mask, I’m protecting you from me, so I expect that same respect from others. Social distancing, you got to keep your six feet. I think if everybody do that, we can beat this thing.”

Carter also talked about the importance of washing our hands, saying he finds himself now washing his hands about 20 times a day.

And Carter is also set up to be a plasma donor, to help treat those currently fighting coronavirus. His first appointment to donate plasma is set for Sunday.

According to the American Red Cross, people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus.

Carter also wanted to be sure to thank his healthcare providers and all healthcare workers.

Carter, who is retired military, once considered himself to be a front line fighter. He’s sending out a big thanks now to those on the front lines of this very different war.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.