Sam Webb: ‘I thought I was going to die from COVID-19’
A Gold Coast identity has told how he thought he was going to die after being struck down with coronavirus and 'crippled' with headaches, fevers and 'excruciating' back pain.
Sam Webb, co-founder of mental health charity LIVIN, has shared his story in what he says is a bid to prevent suicides and depression brought on by the pandemic and its social and economic impacts.
Webb, who is living in Los Angeles with partner Nadia, said they both came down with coronavirus symptoms on June 27.
"That morning I went to the gym, had a productive day, worked from home, felt pretty good, nothing sort of felt wrong," said Webb, a former Survivor star and brother of former Married At First Sight figure Dan Webb.
"But, my girlfriend Nadia, was bad that day, she had a fever in the morning and didn't feel well. I hoped that it wasn't the coronavirus, but that night I started breaking out into a really bad sweat, I think I slept maybe an hour, it was gross.
"I didn't know what was going on. It was the first time I've had a fever in a long time, but I didn't want to panic too much straight up, but the next day, I also started suffering really bad muscle pain, especially in my lower back.
"The best way to explain it is I felt like someone was putting a short, sharp blade in my lower back, a sharp pain, excruciating, that hit me out of nowhere.
"I very rarely get headaches ever, but the day after I woke up and my head was thumping. "Nadia hadn't lost her taste or smell - but I had a complete loss of taste and smell and my appetite disappeared. I started doing research, I thought, this must be the coronavirus.
"Nadia and I were crippled with headaches, fevers, body aches and pains, I lost my smell, and I thought, I sort of hope I've got it so I know what I'm dealing with because if it isn't coronavirus I've never experienced this feeling in my life.
"It wasn't until we got our test on day 4 and it came back in 24 hours with confirmation that we had both tested positive to COVID-19."
Webb said the sixth day of being struck down with the virus was 'the worst day of my life … my vision was literally disappearing, my eyesight was blurry and mix that in with a headache and dizziness'.
"Feeling parched, I panicked and called the emergency line, I was now thinking I wasn't going to make this, despite being young, extremely fit and without any underlying health issues," he said.
"I feared I was going to die. I was fortunate enough though not to suffer the heavy respiratory problems. It wasn't until I had recovered (and on doctors' orders) that I was able to leave the house again to go for a walk that I realised that my lungs still weren't working at full capacity.
"We have all heard on the news that it's just like the flu, it's flu like symptoms, but I can tell you right now I've had the flu many times in my life, but coronavirus is nothing like the flu, "The problems and the pain and the lethargy in the body, is much worse than what I've experienced with the flu. It doesn't even compare. For people who are more vulnerable, that have underlying health problems, that aren't as fit and healthy and might be older, I understand why they are perishing at such an alarming rate.
"It's important that we don't just talk about the virus, but that we widen the discussion to the mental health impacts that survivors are left trying to cope with, the stigma, the fear, the effect of isolation.
"Regardless if you get the virus or not, the impacts of this pandemic are taking a toll on all of us, we need to support the mental wellbeing and resilience as we all fight against this enemy and the devastation it is bringing to families and the wider economy which affects all of us.
"For many young men and women, they're bearing the brunt of the highest unemployment rates, the futures they studied and trained for are now dramatically affected and set back, they also look into a future of having to be the ones that spend the bulk of their working lives repaying the national debt.
"They need to know they're not alone."
Originally published as Sam Webb: 'I thought I was going to die from COVID-19'