Everett Man’s Battle and Recovery from COVID-19

Everett resident, Jay Griffin, shares his experience with contracting COVID-19 and his journey to recovery.

On the morning of March 2, Jay Griffin of Everett went to the doctor for bronchitis and a sinus infection. On March 11, he would find out he was infected with COVID-19, the potentially fatal pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

Griffin’s doctor confirmed that he did have a sinus infection and bronchitis, gave him a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler, then sent him on his way. He picked up his medications from his neighborhood pharmacy and continued on his way home. He recalls, “When I got home, I took my drugs and shortly after that I started to feel like crap. I started to have a fever and stomach pain.”

Fearing an allergic reaction to the medication, he contacted his doctor and his medications were changed. His wife, Allison, picked up his new prescription and their children. By the time she got home his temperature was 103.1, with non-stop shaking and sweats.

My doctor said my lungs were trashed, that they looked like they went through a cheese grater.”

— Jay Griffin

Relying on his inhaler to breathe and acetaminophen to keep his temperature down to 101, Griffin went back to his doctor on the morning of March 7. He was given a flu test, which came back negative. Going against his colleague’s advice, Griffin’s doctor gave him a chest X-ray and tested for COVID-19. The X-rays confirmed both pneumonia and bronchitis. Griffin says, “My doctor said my lungs were trashed, that they looked like they went through a cheese grater.” His doctor advised him to call 911 if he had any trouble breathing.

Griffin would later find out that his doctor almost admitted him to the hospital. The only thing that changed that decision was Griffin’s demeanor, joking and upbeat, despite the situation. His doctor told him that even though the test needed to be processed, Griffin had to assume and act as if he had COVID-19.

The Griffin household was now presented with the challenge of quarantining someone in a house full of people. Jay Griffin is a family man with a wife and two children, making social distancing difficult but possible. He kept himself sequestered in the master bedroom since it had its own bathroom and a TV. His meals were delivered like a game of Ding-Dong Ditch; his daughter would leave his food in front of the door, knock, then run!

Rick Sinnett
Jay Griffin, COVID-19 survivor, sheltering in place at his Everett home.

His wife made the most loving sacrifice; she slept on the couch. “I found out how uncomfortable our couch is to sleep on,” Allison comments with a chuckle, “I can’t wait to sleep in my bed again.”

Griffin’s annoyance with conspiracies and the spread of misinformation on COVID-19 were the inspiration for keeping a log of his symptoms and progress. “A person I know on Facebook was saying it’s all a hoax, I didn’t get tested for COVID-19 and that I had the flu. He didn’t know what was going on with me. After he read my log, he deleted his posts.” He continues, “The media is off the mark on both sides. The left is overblowing it and the right is downplaying it too much. There’s no balance; it’s faucet on/faucet off.”

Regarding his thoughts on how the situation is being handled Griffin says, “China should have communicated this to the world. Trump’s response was subpar, and the slow response from [the World Health Organization] W.H.O. contributed to the problems.” He adds, “I’m shocked at Florida, they have such a high elderly population. Every state that did not institute a stay in place order [has] a disregard for human life and only [sees] dollar signs.”

Like many suffering from COVID-19, Griffin doesn’t know who passed the infection onto him. Equally unknown, is if he will make a full recovery. His doctor told him he might not ever fully recover; not inspiring news for the once healthy former Army soldier and outdoorsman. When asked if any aspect of his military training may have prepared him for this, with a laugh, Griffin says, “No, there is nothing that can prepare you for this.”

As of April 29, Snohomish Health District reports 2,417 confirmed and 223 probable cases of COVID-19 in Snohomish County, with 107 deceased and 1,583 having recovered from the illness. The city of Everett has been the hardest hit in Snohomish County with 746 cases.

Jay Griffin is currently working with Bloodworks Northwest COVID-19 blood donor project for treatment research.

For more information on the COVID-19 plasma study, go to: https://www.bloodworksnw.org/covid19study

For up to date COVID-19 statistics for Snohomish County, go to: https://www.snohd.org/499/COVID-19-Case-Count-Info