Dale Folwell, 61, North Carolina State Treasurer

You were hospitalized with COVID-19 in April. Are you fully recovered?

Yes. I had a very intense and very serious case of COVID-19 that required a nearly six-day hospitalization. But I’m feeling fantastic. My stamina’s back up to me putting in the long hours that are required. About three and a half weeks ago, I found a free Egg McMuffin coupon on my desk that had expired while I was in the hospital, and it upset me a little bit because I don’t let coupons expire without using them. I feel like that when I was focused on something like that, then I must be 100 percent.

You were asymptomatic at first. How did you end up being hospitalized? 

I ended up getting tested for COVID-19 because of somebody detecting something in my voice. After I was tested, a couple of days later, I went and met with my primary care physician. My primary care physician did more extensive bloodwork and X-rays, and since I have been racing motorcycles for 45 years, I always have an Ox meter. My primary care physician said, “If your oxygen level starts to fall to these levels, you need to go to the emergency room immediately.” And a day and a half after I had visited with him, that’s what happened. On Sunday morning, I went to the emergency room and was immediately put into the triage that was there for COVID-19.

What was your experience at the hospital? 

All hospitals have been reconfigured as far as what door you go in and who can go in that door, and when you’re in the COVID unit that I was in, you don’t see or hear anybody else. And that’s what I experienced. As soon as I got to the emergency room, I very quickly was administered the cocktail that so many people have talked about over the last two months. The hydroxychloroquine and the Z-Pack.

How did that work for you?

Well, I’m standing here. Things got progressively worse through Sunday and through Monday. And then at about 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I woke up from a very deep sleep, a level of deepness I’ve never experienced in my life. It’s not a nightmare—it was just a deep level of sleep, and the first thought that crossed my mind when I woke up was the scene from The Shawshank Redemption, and I said, “Dale, you’re gonna have to focus and get busy living.” From that point on, I started a monastic thinking about my breathing, where I was inhaling as if I was breathing in a whole bouquet of roses, and then I was exhaling as if I wanted to be around to blow out 62 birthday candles on my next birthday cake. And it takes a lot of energy to do that and not let anything else enter your mind. From that point, my oxygen level started to increase, and the amount of oxygen that I was requiring, they started to scale that down. 

Do you know how you contracted the virus? 

I’d been to Utah before that to a community that had a population of 100. It was a father-son trip that I’d promised our son that somebody else set up, and I was with him in the same room for five days. I was in a Suburban for hours with five other people. Our son didn’t get sick, nobody in the vehicle got sick, and nobody at the lodge got sick. So, who knows where you got it, but I’m pretty convinced that I contracted it when I got back to Raleigh.  

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at ltauss@indyweek.com. 

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