Nurse Shares Story, Body Transformation After Fighting COVID-19

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Mike Schultz shares two photos of himself before and after fighting COVID-19.
Mike Schultz shares two photos of himself before and after fighting COVID-19.  (Source:Instagram / @thebearded_nurse)

Editor's note: Instagram photos embedded in this story may show up as broken due to the platform's age restrictions.

A healthcare worker known on social media as The Bearded Nurse is sharing his story and his body transformation after spending six weeks in a hospital and battling COVID-19.

Mike Schultz, 43, hails from San Francisco and had no underlying health conditions, he told BuzzFeed News. Before getting COVID-19 he weighed 190 pounds, but speaking with the outlet this week he revealed he weighted 140 pounds and that his lung capacity is only just starting to come back.

"I was so weak. This was one of the most frustrating parts," he said. "I couldn't hold my cellphone; it was so heavy. I couldn't type, because my hands shook so much."

Last week, Schultz took to instagram where he shared two side-by-side shirtless photos: One pic taken about a month before he had COVID-19, and a recent pic showing the toll the virus took on him.

"I wanted to show everyone how badly being sedated for 6 weeks on a ventilator or intubated can be," he wrote to his 30,000 followers. "Amongst other things, covid19 reduced my lung capacity with pneumonia. Over 8 weeks I've been away from family and friends getting stronger everyday and working to increase my lung capacity.

"I'll get back to where I was in healthier ways in time...maybe even do cardio," he added.

Speaking with BuzzFeed, he said: "I knew what I thought going in [about the coronavirus]. I didn't think it was as serious as it was until after things started happening.

"I thought I was young enough for it not to affect me, and I know a lot of people think that.

"I wanted to show it can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, have preexisting conditions or not. It can affect you," Schultz added.

He told BuzzFeed he went to the hospital on March 6 while visiting his boyfriend in Boston. A week before that, he had gone to Miami Beach for Winter Party Festival, which attracted thousands of people.

"We knew it was out there," Schultz said of COVID-19. "There were no real restrictions in place, though. No lockdowns. We just thought, Well, we gotta wash our hands more and be wary of touching our face."

BuzzFeed News reports at least 38 people who attended the Winter Party also became sick and three men died.

Just two days after arriving in Boston, both he and his boyfriend, DJ Josh Hebblewaite, 29, began feeling sick, with Schultz's temperature rising to 103. Then he struggled to breath, as his lungs began to fill with liquid. The men went straight to the hospital.

Click here to read BuzzFeed's full interview with Schultz.

COVID-19 And You

This story is part of our special report titled COVID-19 And You. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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