When the symptoms first appeared the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Jim Dowling thought it was the flu. As things progressively worsened, he began to worry.
So, as he’s done for any health concern for as long as he can remember, Dowling headed to his trusted healthcare provider, Loring Hospital.
He went in that Tuesday, he recalls, to see Dr. Zoltan Pek and received a rapid COVID-19 test, which came back positive.
“He got right on it,” Dowling says of Pek. “Dr. Pek prescribed that first antibody, and we started immediately.”
Dr. Pek prescribed the monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab, a treatment the FDA has given emergency authorization to use on patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 and who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
Dowling also received a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest, which diagnosed him with pneumonia. The dual diagnosis, he says, was “kind of a double whammy.”
It was a scary time, he recalls, but he never lost confidence in the Loring Hospital staff.
“I didn’t have a minute of doubt that they were going to do everything they could,” Dowling says. “I felt that way when I walked in, and I was even more confident of that when I left.”
Dowling received eight days’ worth of steroid and antibiotic infusions as an outpatient. He recalls being “real weak and tired,” but slowly began to see improvement.
He has since fully recovered and has a whole new level of appreciation for the Loring staff. Each nurse he saw was attentive, kind and “eager to help.”
“They know what they’re doing, and they didn’t mess around, yet they were friendly and courteous,” he recalls. “Everybody was there to help and make me feel better, and that’s what they did.”
Dowling is grateful, but not surprised. He says he and his wife are “lifelong patients” of Loring Hospital “since day one” – indeed, both of their sons were born there.
For all his health concerns, big and small, he’s turned to Loring, and he is confident in them because of the quality of care he’s always received. Even though he was alarmed by the COVID-19 diagnosis, he knew he was in the best care he could ask for.
“I have nothing but good things to say,” he says. “There’s no reason not to look at Loring Hospital for healthcare.”
As far as COVID-19 goes, he’s using his firsthand experience to tell others about the very real risks and dangers of the virus.
“It’s like Dr. Pek said, ‘We’re playing a game with no rules,’” Dowling says. “It’s different for everybody, and the only things we know are to wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain social distancing.”
With the federal rollout of vaccines, Dowling says there is reason to be optimistic, but still a ways to go.
Until then, he suggests, listen to the advice of trusted healthcare providers, such as those at Loring Hospital and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a trusted COVID-19 adviser.