Kidney transplant recipient Freddy Bollinger isolated himself for five weeks as a precaution against COVID-19, but it wasn’t enough to keep the coronavirus at bay.
After he endured more than a day of painful vomiting and a migraine headache, Bollinger’s wife, Jamie, took the South Hall man to the emergency room at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton on Sunday, April 19.
He was released from the hospital the next day. And then, on Tuesday, April 21, the hospital called him at home and told him he had COVID-19.
The diagnosis floored the 48-year-old, who said he thought he may have had a stomach virus or maybe food poisoning.
“I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t have coughing issues, I didn’t have any respiratory issues,” Bollinger said.
Those are the typical symptoms of the coronavirus. But the World Health Organization also lists vomiting as affecting 5% of patients and a headache, 13.6%.
And besides, the couple had spent the past five weeks as recluses, Bollinger said.
“We have not seen friends, family, anybody,” he said.
On Wednesday, April 22, Jamie got tested for the coronavirus. The next day, she learned she had tested negative.
He was happy for her, of course, but perplexed at how he tested positive — if it had to do with immune deficiencies stemming from his kidney transplant last year.
“Unless she is just one of those people who are not prone to having it at all, or my (test result) was a false positive — it’s got to be one or the other, I don’t know,” Bollinger said.
Barring any further complications, Bollinger will be deemed recovered from COVID-19 on Sunday, May 3.
Until then, Freddy and Jamie are in the same house but staying apart. He sleeps in the guest bedroom and “gets suited up” in a mask and gloves when he leaves the room to fetch water or whatever.
Otherwise, “I feel like there is nothing wrong with me,” he said.