“Just stay home” – Austin man battling COVID-19 shares his story


Austin (KXAN) — A month of coughing, being out of breath and being bedridden. That’s what Richard Bagdonas, a husband, a father of two children and a cancer survivor, has been dealing with after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Bagdonas shared his story with KXAN in hopes that people will take this disease seriously and follow new mask mandates.

“I have a really hard time breathing most of the day. I have no energy,” he said. “Going upstairs causes my blood oxygen level to just plummet. I’ve lost countless pounds of weight. All I do all day is sleep.”

He said he found out he had COVID-19 in June. He’s a healthy person who exercises regularly. In April, he said he biked 500 miles.

Bagdonas has been sharing updates on his social media pages. He told KXAN his symptoms were bad at the beginning. He seemed to get better, but he’s experiencing symptoms again.

Recently, he had to go to an emergency room.

“Our 8-year-old, you know, was just in tears thinking that I may not make it home,” he explained.

But he added, he was lucky because he could still breathe on his own.

“They needed their bed back because there was nothing they could do for me other than have me sit there, and I can sit at home and wait, too. The cries of people at the ER because they weren’t able to catch their breath was just, it was just traumatic,” Bagdonas said.

He also said, “I can tell you that when I was at the hospital speaking with the nurses and the doctors, they were in tears because families are having to say goodbye to their loved ones over video.”

To prevent even more people from having to be hospitalized, Gov. Abbott issued a mask mandate for most counties. The order went into effect Friday.

However, when we checked out places like the Greenbelt, the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail, and the Domain, we saw some people still not wearing masks.

“It’s the same story that I tell my children. We either win together or we lose together,” Bagdonas said. “And with masks, it’s such a simple thing. wearing a mask doesn’t just protect me, but it protects you.”

With this being a holiday weekend, too, Bagdonas added, “You know, the fourth is my birthday. And if they could give me one gift, it would be to just stay home.”

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