There have been many sports media members who have faced tough battles with the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the latest one to go public there is long-time Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke. The 61-year-old Plaschke, who’s written for the Times since 1987 and has also regularly appeared on ESPN’s Around The Horn, discussed his ordeal with the disease in a column published Wednesday. Here are some key excerpts from that:
My temperature hovered in the upper reaches of 102. It felt like my head was on fire. One night I sweated through five shirts. I shook so much from the chills I thought I chipped a tooth. My chest felt like LeBron James was sitting on it. My fatigue made it feel as if I was dressed in the chains of Jacob Marley’s ghost. I coughed so hard it felt like I broke a rib.
I would fall asleep in a chair and wake up terrified from a hallucinatory dream where I was chased through a playground by old women with giant heads. During phone calls I would get confused and just stop talking. I would begin crying for no reason. I lost my sense of taste, smell, and five pounds in the first four days.
Plaschke writes that he picked up the disease near the end of July, tested positive days later, battled symptoms for a week, and is now quarantining while he recovers. He said he believes he contracted COVID-19 by relaxing his guard and having two socially-distanced outdoor meals (allowed under California regulations at the time) with friends late last month, following months where he didn’t go anywhere or do anything. And he writes that the mental toll of worrying about it has been tough as well:
Nobody tells you about the dread. From the moment my doctor phoned me with the test results, to the moment I am writing this column, I have been scared out of my mind.
…Once you realize you have a virus that could kill you and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, you live in constant fear.
Our thoughts go out to Plaschke as he recovers.