SUMTER, S.C. — When compared to other illnesses, Jeffrey Lampkin says COVID-19 is "a whole different ball game."
He felt like he was following all the steps by wearing masks and keeping his spaces clean. He was shocked to find out he had the virus.
"I started feeling something in my chest, so I really thought that it was a sinus infection," Lampkin said. "Then from there it progressed to the chills."
He decided to go get tested. As he waited for his results, his symptoms began to worsen.
"I lost my sense of taste and smell," Lampkin said. "You're sick and there's no medicine that helps you. You're sick and there is literally like times where, no I don't need to go to a hospital, but I have no strength. I have no desire to get out of bed. I have no desire to eat anything...It was challenging."
At home, his wife cared for him. Eventually, she also began to show similar symptoms and Lampkin began grappling with thoughts of the worst.
"I know I'm not going to die, but I feel like death is near because I am sick in a place that I've never been before," he said. "It was extreme fatigue, body aches and the severe head pressure."
He has since recovered and says his wife, who is still waiting on her COVID-19 test results, is healing too.
"COVID allows you to see why you need to put on a mask," Lampkin said. "COVID allows you to see why you need to think of others, because I don't have... pre-existing health conditions, but what I found is, it took me out so bad. There was no energy there. I was so sick; I was so in pain. So, someone who has health conditions, you don't have the strength to fight."
Lampkin, who owns a restaurant in town, says he was not there during the time of his illness. Still, he says he did a deep cleaning as a precaution.
He hopes his story will encourage others to take the virus seriously to protect the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.