WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJLT) — After waging a battle with COVID-19, Wichita Falls Fire Chief Ken Prillaman is sharing publically his experience with the virus after getting infected in a new PSA produced by the Public Information Office of the City of Wichita Falls.
The three-minute video was posted on the city’s Facebook page Friday morning. In the video, Prillaman said he started seeing symptoms Saturday, October 24.
“I got up that morning and really wasn’t feeling well,” Prillaman said. “It wasn’t cold and flu symptoms as much as it was, I was feeling fatigued at a level that I don’t recall ever feeling that fatigue before.”
Prillaman then self-quarantined but admitted that he didn’t think initially that he had COVID-19. That was until his symptoms got much worse.
“Fatigue didn’t go away for eight to ten days,” he said. “It was all I could do to move from the bed to a recliner. Regulating my body temp was almost impossible. I would go from being so cold that my teeth were chattering so literally breaking out in a sweat.”
At one point, his temperature peaked at 106 degrees. He also describes having what he calls a ‘nonprotective” dry cough for a number of days.
“It was so active that by the end of the first week I completely lost my voice so just communicating with Deb [his wife] or our kids, or grandkids via Facetime was impossible from that point on,” he said.
Prillaman followed the 14-day quarantine requirements, but he said the biggest lesson learned is that it takes much longer to feel back to normal when you have the virus.
“Although the CDC and the health department have a 14-day requirement for no longer being a threat to others, there are certain jobs, this one being one of them, where 14 days may not be enough,” he said. “I noticed Tuesday and Wednesday that I still had to guard my energy. I had to manage where I was placing my energy throughout the day so I could make it through the day. So for me, it was a 19-day. It was the quarantine plus five before I felt like I was really ready.”
Prillaman said before contracting the virus, he worked hard on being complaint by following the health guidelines like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. He doesn’t know how he got COVID-19, but he hopes by telling his personal experience, others will be encouraged to take this virus seriously.
“Everybody has got to do their part,” Prillaman said .”Don’t apply a narrative that I know someone who got it and they didn’t have any symptoms, therefore, I don’t have to worry about it because this thing is nondiscriminatory.”
Prillaman has served the Wichita Falls Fire Department since May 2019.