BOBBY BENNETT: GO AHEAD AND THINK YOU'RE INVINCIBLE
The problem with many drag racers is the unfounded belief they are invincible.
This sense of invincibility is not on the drag strip where they rightfully respect the race cars they drive.
The sense of invincibility is off the strip.
Coronavirus, COVID-19 ... that's the stuff which happens to other people.
I used to think the same thing. What I am about to tell you is the absolute and painful truth of what I've experienced over the last twelve days of living square in the middle of what some say is a hoax.
I heard about the new strain of the flu as we prepared to travel to the Bakersfield March Meet in Bakersfield, Ca., around the start of the month of March. My idea of combat was hand sanitizer, which got used sometimes and forgotten others.
I worked the event, and caught the red-eye flight home. It appeared everything was fine, and as I heard of the quarantines and stuff, I scoffed at the idea this was a real pandemic.
Thursday I left for Gainesville for the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, I got about 90 miles down the freeway when local officials postponed the event. Still. I had no idea within 24 hours my life would take a very different turn.
Friday (March 13), as I worked on the ground plans for the inaugural Virtual Reality event, I began to weaken. Eventually, struggling to get to the end of my day's work, I mentioned to the wife of my weakness. I went and laid down, figuring some kind of funk was coming on that I'd need some antibiotics to knock out.
When I get sick, I am proactive; I don't wait around to get knocked on my butt. I went to Urgent Care, where they gave me a round of antibiotics and diagnosed me with a sinus infection.
I medicated up, but quickly my condition started to worsen. I started running a fever. My energy level had dropped to maybe ten percent. Corona was about as far off of my radar as it could be, but we quickly decided I needed to be quarantined. By Monday, my temperatures felt like they were spiking to the point there was burning behind my eyeballs.
By Tuesday (March 17), and it become evident I was worsening with each hour and each day. I decided to drive myself to my local hospital to get tested. My fever was moderate, but I figured if I could get relief somewhere, it would be the hospital. Two hours, after doing swabs, they sent me back home with the "we'll be in touch" mandate.
Back to bed, I went where my temperature soared to as high as 103.
I really want to remember the details, but when I say I went in and out of consciousness, or at least that's how I felt, that's the truth from Wednesday until Friday, every day. My temperature would soar and then fall, resulting in clothes drenched in sweat..
During this time, I wished at times and prayed for death. There was extreme pain and sickness. The inability to eat. Being sick at both ends of my body, death seemed like the only relief.
Finally, on March 21, eight days after this whole episode began, I called my non-racing friend Ian, who had been keeping tabs on me. I told Ian I couldn't do this anymore.
Ian called DHEC, who told him to get me to PRISMA Health immediately. They took me in and began working on me. They worked on getting my fever under control, and for four days, they brought me back to life, slowly.
After three fever-free days, PRISMA released me. I received a call en route to home I had indeed tested positive for COVID-19.
During the time I was sidelined, and still am, I watch as many, I knew commented that this was all a hoax. I think in this world, as long as it doesn't happen to you or someone you know, it is a hoax.
I got news for you, what I've endured along with hundreds of thousands of others it's not going to go away until there's a cure. No matter how long you sit in small crowds, it's still out there and will hit again.
My plea for you is this: take this seriously. Take the precautions, be careful because in the end it doesn't play around or care how invincible you believe you are.