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‘It’s like being in hell’ — Norton fire chief posts warning as he fights COVID-19

Posted at 12:52 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 20:49:55-05

NORTON, Ohio — One of the thousands of Ohioans to contract COVID-19 in the past few weeks, Norton’s fire chief Mike Schultz, posted a stirring and eye-opening warning to Facebook as he is fighting for his life.

Schultz said he became sick on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and he has “gotten worse, much worse everyday.” He said he has bilateral pneumonia and has been fighting to breathe for days.

“Every organ in my body is under attack, except my heart, so far,” Schultz said in the Facebook post. “I am now experiencing blood sugars at very dangerous levels from the infection and the mega dose steroids being used to fight it. I can’t talk, can’t bathe myself and can [barely] make it to the toilet.”

Schultz said that he almost lost his battle with COVID-19 on Sunday and was so exhausted he was at peace with it. He thanked the New Franklin Fire Department and Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center for fighting for him.

“I will be forever appreciative of the care I received,” he said. “The doctor says my body is starting to finally stabilize. I’m going to win the battle, but the end is not in [sight] yet.”

Schultz said he has been given a concoction of five powerful antibiotics, another medication for COVID-19, and "god knows what else they are pumping into me."

Schultz said he felt the need to post publicly about his struggle with the disease because “this is real.”

“The isolation is scary and very unnerving,” he said. “People are dying in the rooms around me every day, and it’s like being in hell. So please, look out for each other. Please look out for my family until my fight is less. I would do the same for any of you.”

The chief's wife, Karla, works at Akron General as a cardiology nurse practitioner and has spent time on the COVID floor.

She is not working at the hospital this week, but has high praise for the medical team caring for her husband.

"He is doing better every day. He has such amazing, dedicated health professionals that are taking care of him from every aspect-- physicians and nurses and nurse practitioners," she said.

Karla also hopes people heed her husband's warning over social media.

"I hope that nobody has the personal experience that I had with my husband on Sunday, no one. Please wear your mask, wash your hands, get rest and be kind to each other."

Schultz, 55, has been the head of the department since 2007 and an active member since 1992.