The Raleigh lawyer was in a life-or-death situation last year after contracting COVID-19. At the ER, the doctor realized he was experiencing myocarditis and used a new type of heart pump to give his heart a rest—saving his life in the process.

Tell me about when you first started experiencing COVID symptoms.

My wife and I were hanging out with a friend, and after the weekend was over, we found out that we got COVID from her. We quarantined for 14 days after she told us that she had tested positive. Those 14 days were rough for me, personally. I had a lot of different symptoms, a severe headache, I lost my appetite. My wife, on the other hand, was pretty fine so she was taking care of me. 

What made you realize you were still experiencing the effects of COVID?

A month later, I was on a hike with my dog. We usually go on a hike every day. That morning was different, because I wasn’t able to complete the hike. I maybe got five minutes in, and I had to call my wife to let her know that I couldn’t complete my walk, and we ended up going back to the apartment. I was feeling really bad, very tired, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

We went to urgent care, and did a [COVID] test, and my temperature was 105.4. They sent me to the ER, I got a whole lot of different tests, and they came back with nothing. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with me, so they gave me some Tylenol. They told me to take it to get my temperature down, and we went back home. As time progressed, I got worse, my temperature kept going back up to 104, 105. So we went to another urgent care. The doctor basically told us that they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, gave me a bunch of tests. Nothing came up positive so they sent us home with some Motrin and told us to wait it out. 

What happened next?

As time progressed, it got worse, and we were trying to figure out what to do. I ended up passing out. My wife was alarmed and so we went to another ER and got some answers. We went to the fourth ER and we found out that I had pneumonia in my chest.

How long were you at the WakeMed COVID unit?

It was less than a day. I went that morning and one of the doctors in charge of admitting patients to a special unit was present while I was there. He was in my chart and told me that I needed to be transferred. And I was transferred to a new unit, and that’s when they started having conversations about the Impella heart pump, which was used to get my heart a rest and basically saved my life.

What was the recovery process like?

That one-month window, I didn’t know I was sick, but after having the heart pump I felt like I had more energy. That was a relief. I had more energy, I was breathing regularly again, and I just felt overall more healthy and better. . . . I’m grateful that we had an amazing team. Amazing cardiologists, nurses, super excited that we had the Impella heart pump. I’m grateful for all the prayers and the thoughts from our friends and family. 

Support independent local journalismJoin the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

Follow Digital Content Manager Sara Pequeño on Twitter or send an email to