CORONAVIRUS

Cyclone Fanatic publisher discusses his coronavirus experience

Chris Williams was diagnosed June 23

Chris Williams (Contributed photo)
Chris Williams (Contributed photo)
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Cyclone Fanatic publisher Chris Williams learned June 23 that tested positive for COVID-19.

Williams, 36, is a husband and father of two girls living in the Des Moines area. He has worked with the Cyclone Fanatic website for 12 years, alongside a radio talk show on KXnO radio.

With a busy career and family, Williams discussed how being diagnosed with the coronavirus affected his life and continues to influence his environment.

Q: What was your experience like with COVID-19?

A: When first you’re getting sick, you just have body aches. I started to get those. And I took my temperature and it was in the high 90s, nothing critical. That whole Saturday, I just kept getting worse and worse. And my biggest thing, I’m still experiencing, is just crazy fatigue. I could have stayed in bed 24 hours a day. And the worst part for me and I’m still experiencing — at night was horrible for me for about four or five days. You just lay there and you can’t sleep and it gets way worse. The symptoms were ever-changing. Eight days in, I lost my (sense of) smell, which I still don’t have back. I never lost my taste, which is bizarre. Just talking kind of takes my breath away. I went to the doctor, and I guess some people are taking months to fully recover from it. I’m probably gonna be one of those people. But it’s better than being dead or on a ventilator, and that’s what I keep telling myself, so I feel pretty lucky.

Q: Are you still experiencing symptoms despite being negative?

A: The fatigue thing is the most real for me. (My family was) on vacation, and I was trying to do what I normally do and it’s just hard because you don’t really feel bad. I don’t, at least. I’m not having body aches or anything like that, but it’s just walking (is hard). We were down at the Lake of the Ozarks, and just walking from the dock up to our condo was brutal. (It’s) something that I never would even think about. A couple of times I physically had to stop and catch my breath. I’m a healthy 36-year-old man, I don’t have anything wrong with me. So that really is the hardest part for me, especially when you talk on the radio. Just (having enough) energy (is hard), but I guess that’s what coffee is for. I don’t have the luxury to sleep a lot with a 5-year-old and a 10 month-old that I’m constantly chasing around the house.

Q: Are you taking more precautions (i.e., mask wearing, social distancing, etc.) than you were before?

A: I wouldn’t say I’m more cautious, but I’m definitely more conscientious of others. I wear a mask everywhere now for a couple of reasons. One, it’s just for other people. Two, really the worst part for me about having COVID, was the way people will look at you. They’re not trying to be rude, but everybody’s scared. They don’t know anything about it. The contact tracing part of this really is the hardest part. Being a public figure, one of my friend’s day care for his kids got called by another parent who knew that he was friends with me to make sure that those kids hadn’t been around me. My nieces and nephew had to miss games because they had been around me, and ... that’s the stuff that is so weird about this. I wasn’t really prepared for that. You really feel like you’re letting people down. I couldn’t control (getting COVID-19), and I didn’t want to get it, but you still feel that way. Everybody needs to be patient with one another because nobody’s ever been through this before and cut each other some slack.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t experienced COVID-19?

A: Take it seriously. I know that the majority of people are fine (after having COVID-19). People compare it to the flu, which symptom-wise it was probably pretty similar, for me at least. But, honestly, I would never walk into a children’s hospital with the flu. I would never walk into a nursing home with the flu. If I had the flu, I wouldn’t even go over to my neighbor’s house. I wouldn’t want to spread it. That’s the thing about this is like you don’t know you have it half the time, or whatever the numbers say. To me, it’s about respect. I don’t care what people’s political views are. A normal person would never know that they had influenza and willingly spread it to their neighbors. Treat this the same way. That’s my thing. (Things like) wearing a mask, it’s not really for me, but I kind of feel a responsibility to wear one to show respect.

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Q:As a sports journalist and Cyclone fan, what are your thoughts on the sports world potentially coming back?

A: It’s going to be really different for a long time. I’m of the opinion that if you can find a way to do it safely, I think sports are really important, especially right now. Just everything is so divisive in our county. Iowa and Iowa State football brings so many people together on Saturdays in our state, and if you can find a way to safely do that, I think it’s therapeutic for everybody. I don’t place sports above lives, but I also think sports can be healing.

Comments: (319) 398-8372; alexandra.skores@thegazette.com

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