MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – A northeast Kansas professor was completely healthy, until the coronavirus sent him into the intensive care unit. Now his family is sharing their story in hopes that it urges others to take the virus seriously.
Andrew Smith teaches journalism at Kansas State University, and earlier this month his whole family went with him on a class trip to London.
Andrew’s wife Jennifer said by the time they got home, they knew something was wrong.
“We just couldn’t really tell the difference between travel fatigue and what was actually going on,” said Jennifer Smith. “Until we got home then Andrew could definitely tell he really wasn’t breathing well.”
The family went straight to the emergency room.
“I wasn’t allowed to get out of the car even when I dropped him off at the ER,” Jennifer Smith said. “The nurses came out with Hazmat suits on and they’re taking your husband away and he’s like barely lucid and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh is this the last time I’m going to see him?'”
Only Andrew had severe enough symptoms to qualify for coronavirus testing, but Jennifer and their two daughters Aubri and Abby went into home isolation immediately.
“We’re totally quarantined. If anyone does bring us food it’s left on our doorstep. We don’t talk to anybody,” Abby Smith said.
Andrew described his symptoms in a recent Facebook video update.
“The fatigue, lack of concentration, and the pressure in the chest and the pain throughout the chest as the pneumonia takes over a bit, as well as the fevers,” said Andrew Smith. “My fever has been spiking at 103.”
Jennifer, Aubri, and Abby are all having some symptoms too, though their symptoms are milder and they said it’s Andrew who they’re really worried about.
“We’re hopeful. We’re optimistic people by nature but this has just been scary, unprecedented I guess,” Jennifer Smith said.
Even while fighting the dangerous virus Andrew is keeping positive.
“That fear and anxiety is real, and it’s ok to feel it. But understand that we’re all in this together. We’re a community,” Andrew Smith said.
While he does that, the rest of his family is sharing their story in hopes of spreading a message.
“Anyone who knows Andrew knows he’s a very vital human being. So for him to be in the hospital under these conditions has suddenly brought it home,” Jennifer Smith said. “This has made a difference and that’s why we’re talking to you, because seriously, stay home. Please be careful. It might not affect you at all. But it could affect some random member of your family and you would hate to be in this position where you can’t help them. You can’t be with them. You can’t do anything but just pray and send good vibes to the people caring for your loved one.”