February 29, 2020 | 6:12pm | Updated February 29, 2020 | 6:13pm
Carl Goldman’s biggest fear as he sits inside a specially sealed room in Nebraska is dehydration — the seal, he says, is to protect doctors from his coronavirus.
The 66-year-old California radio-station owner has been holed up in an Omaha hospital since Feb. 17, after reportedly contracting the virus on the Diamond Princess cruiseliner.
“I’ve got Gatorade in every single flavor,” Goldman told ABC News from his hospital bed. “I have windows on the right, but it’s all double-pane thick glass. The doors are specially sealed, so I kind of feel like I’m a fish inside a fishbowl.”
Goldman is among 88 American passengers from the ship who came down with the disease while sailing off the coast of Japan. At least 619 of the 3,700 passengers were infected; six have died.
Coronavirus hit “hard and fast,” said Goldman.
An infected person “can go for days feeling fine” before symptoms emerge, he added.
“We could have been exposing so many people to the virus not knowing we had it.”
After several weeks of quarantine on board, Goldman and his wife, Jeri, both of Santa Clarita, were evacuated and tested for the COVID-19 virus.
Jeri was cleared, but Carl’s results came back positive.
The next morning he was flown across the Pacific to Omaha on a 747 cargo plane.
Goodman arriving in Nebraska and being sent to a hospital.
A slice of cake for Carl’s birthday while he was recovering.
“I had a bit of a cough, but I chalked it up to the dry air in the cabin,” he said.
Then he fell asleep, and when he awoke stateside, “I knew I had a high fever,” he said.
“My wife touched me and she knew I was burning up. I went up to the military doctors, they took my temperature and immediately put me in a quarantine area.”
By the time he was admitted to the hospital, his fever began to die.
The rest of his symptoms, including coughing up mucus, have been mild, he said.
“The good news is my fever broke by the time I came to the hospital,” he said. “I had a little fever, a mild fever the first day. And then over a night ago, I had a little fever as well, that just came for about an hour and then disappeared.”
Doctors take his temperature every three hours, and have instructed him to do breathing exercises. He does laps around his room to keep his blood flowing and tries to stay optimistic.
One positive, he said, is room service at all hours.
“I just finished a delicious lunch of grilled cheese . . . I’m looking forward to a cheeseburger tonight and baked potato,” he said. “I believe it’s set up 24/7, so I could have a midnight snack if I wanted to.”