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COVID-19 patient: 'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy'

At first, it felt like a simple cold or maybe just a 24-hour thing. The next three weeks were miserable as Curtis Gainey battled COVID-19.
Credit: Curtis Gainey

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Curtis Gainey, 52, was on his way to work when he heard a train roaring down the tracks. A few seconds later, he saw the crossing arms dropping and the warning alarm alerting drivers a train was coming. 

While Gainey waited for the train to pass by, he started to feel a bit ill. 

“I called in sick and came back home and then later that day I got a text message from work that someone tested positive (COVID-19) in the department beside us,” said Gainey

He reached out to the nurse at his work who suggested he get a COVID-19 test as well. Gainey went to a nearby clinic to have the test, and the next day he learned he was positive for the virus. 

“I was really feeling bad. I was in bed and every time I would try to rise up I would say 'Oh, God, I’m going to get sick,'” said Gainey.

The next two weeks were spent in isolation in his bedroom. Gainey would sleep for 20 to 24 hours at a time. 

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“My body would just ache all over and I was really hot. The pain was so bad I didn’t want to hold my head up,” said Gainey.

After the first week of dealing with the aches and pains, the cough set in on day eight. Gainey struggled to get good breaths and when he tried, he would start coughing violently. 

“If I would take a deep breath, I would start coughing really bad, and it would burn and wouldn’t stop,” said Gainey.

A doctor prescribed a cough medicine and other medications to help with the pain and allow him to sleep. The concern was his lungs would not heal if he continued to cough so often. 

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” said Gainey.

After two weeks in bed, Gainey was able to move around a little bit but would still struggle with stamina and would get dizzy and nauseated. 

“My balance was way off and I’d get sick really quick,” said Gainey.

Finally, by week three Gainey was starting to feel like himself again. He was able to go back to work full time, although he was still easily tired and dealt with a slight cough. 

“I was glad I did not have to go to the hospital,” said Gainey.

Now recovered and feeling better, Gainey has a warning for others: “You don’t want to get this, it was miserable,” he said. 

More COVID-19 survivor stories from here in the Triad:

RELATED: Archdale two-time cancer survivor beats coronavirus while self-quarantining at home

RELATED: 'It's a miracle from God:' 70-year-old Guilford County coronavirus patient leaves hospital


Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media. 

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information. 

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