5-29-20 fdl resident donates convalescent plasma in fight against covid-19

Fond du Lac County resident Gregg Bartel has a message for residents…COVID-19 is real and it’s serious.   Bartel says he first started feeling sick March 15.   Bartel says the doctor told him test kits were scarce and he and his daughter didn’t fit the profile for COVID-19 so they gave his daughter an inhaler and told him to take Mucinex.   Bartel says about a week later he had difficulty breathing and went to the emergency room at ThedaCare Medical Center in Neenah where he was diagnosed with double pneumonia and COVID-19.    Bartel says breathing was extremely difficult.   “If I was talking to you, in just this short period of time, I would have had to stop about ten times to take a breath,”  Bartel told WFDL news.  “If I was just sitting I had to concentrate on my breathing.  I didn’t need a respirator, but I had to stay still.”   Bartel  admits he was worried.  “I pretty much didn’t sleep for the next 96 hours because they (doctors) were concerned about me laying down in a horizontal position.  I catnapped for 20-30 minutes here and there before the antibiotics for the double pneumonia really kicked in.   I was pretty nervous, I won’t lie to you.”   Bartel says he didn’t have any medical history issues.  “I tell you it’s a serious event.”   Bartel recovered from the virus and recently became the first person to donate convalescent plasma , used to treat COVID-19 patients, at The Community Blood Center in Appleton.  So what advice does he have for area residents about COVID-19?   “I think they should take it seriously.  The best defense is social distancing and hand washing.  Don’t discount it, it’s real.”