One of Michigan's first COVID-19 patients describes journey through pain to recovery

Posted at 10:56 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 09:00:30-04

(WXYZ) — He was one of the first COVID-19 patients here in Michigan. After he was diagnosed in early March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer referred to him as a Wayne County man with a history of domestic travel. Now, he's sharing his story of the pain, struggle and triumph in beating COVID-19.

Paul DeWyse, 57, is a father, husband and double lung transplant recipient, and says he’s just so thankful to be alive.

"I did get the best results, unfortunately there are a lot of people that haven’t," DeWyse said.

He was once known simply as an unknown positive COVID-19 patient.

"We’re here today because we have identified the first presumptive case of coronavirus in Michigan," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference on March 10.

DeWyse was one of the first in Michigan to be diagnosed with COVID-19. He says at first he thought he just had the flu, but things quickly escalated in just a matter of hours and he knew something more serious was going on.

"I started getting a little bit of a fever and I started feeling like something was wrong," DeWyse said. "I laid down on the couch and said I just don't feel good, and before you know it my stomach was very upset and I did vomit."

DeWyse is also a double lung transplant recipient. He thought after contracting COVID-19, this was going to be the end.

"Here I sat in my hospital room, all by myself," he said. "No one was allowed to come and visit me, I was in quarantine and talking to my wife on the phone. It was terrible," he said.

DeWyse would be put into quarantine and monitored closely at Michigan Medicine. He was given different antibiotics and pain killers for his body aches but never needed a ventilator.

"It was terrible," he said. "It was like the flu times 10, it really was. The pain, the body aches were really bad and then the headaches were just pounding."

DeWyse is now doing a lot better and is getting stronger everyday. His journey started as a Wayne County man with a history of domestic travel, to someone we all know now as Paul DeWyse. This once faceless man is now a face of inspiration, hope and faith.

"I’m very very happy to be alive and I’m already exercising again and doing things I love to do, so I’m very happy," he said.

Doctors say in the end, DeWyse’s double lung transplant may have saved his life.