‘Like this creeping monster’: North Saanich couple share experience with COVID-19

'Like this creeping monster': North Saanich couple share experience with COVID-19
WatchA Saanich Peninsula couple shares their experience with COVID-19 and says there is one thing they are grateful they did. April Lawrence reports.

Sylvia Olsen and Tex McLeod are enjoying their first few days of freedom after getting word on Tuesday they are no longer contagious for COVID-19.

“In retrospect you look at it and go wow, that was very much on a knife edge, it could have gone either way,” said McLeod.

It was on March 14, two days after the couple returned from a trip to Toronto, when they both started to feel sick.

“Fever, chills, headaches, then in my case I started to cough,” said McLeod.

Olsen, a renowned local author who also happens to be BC Green Party leader Adam Olsen’s mother, had symptoms that were milder but that also included a loss of taste and smell.

“I had a very bad flu but Tex’s breathing and chest and the brick in his chest and all those kinds of symptoms were much more scary for us,” Olsen said.

It got so bad that 71-year-old McLeod ended up at Saanich Peninsula hospital, where he was directed to an isolated room where they performed multiple tests, including a COVID swab, before sending him home.

READ MORE: B.C. says everyone with COVID-19 symptoms can be tested as cases in Island Health region pass 100

“We had a call less than 24 hours later where they advised us that I had tested positive to COVID and that was a bit chilling,” said McLeod.

From there,the days were a mixture of fear and uncertainty. Olsen says advice at the time was to keep him home from hospital unless his symptoms got more severe. And even when he finally turned a corner, they weren’t sure his battle was actually over.

“Can this thing take a hairpin turn, can you start feeling better than it come back on you? It’s sort of like this creeping monster that’s around the corner, so it’s not right there but it’s around the corner,” said Olsen.

Fortunately, it didn’t come back. While McLeod still has lingering symptoms from pneumonia, Olsen was symptom-free after about two to three weeks.

They say their situation, although tough, was privileged compared to many others. But their best advice is to isolate, like they did, the instant you feel symptoms.

“To our knowledge, it was never passed on beyond us, so you can self isolate and it can end with you, and that’s a pretty powerful message,” said McLeod.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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