COVID-19: My Story by Ryan Buttner, Emergency Department RN

Ryan Buttner

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the care and support I received during my recent hospital experience. I would like to share my story in the hope others may learn and gain a little respect for COVID-19. I never expected to end up in CarolinaEast to battle the virus. After all, I’m a healthy 40ish year old who really never has been sick. I’ve worked in a hospital and ED as a nurse for almost 20 years. I protect myself and family as well as practice social distancing.

I had a headache and sore throat which I normally do after a few shifts. They resolved and I was feeling well. I was told my three children were home with fevers and vomiting, which prompted me to call employee health and my wife and I were advised to be tested for COVID. I tested positive and my three children also tested positive in the next few days. My wife tested negative and has shown no symptoms.

The first three days I felt bad with a fever and body aches all over. The cough got worse and shortness of breath followed. Nothing seemed to ease my symptoms. Eventually with some convincing from my wife and a friend, we came to the ED. I was met at the door by the ED team and they started taking care of me immediately. I wasn’t alone and neither was my family. The team was amazing and I was stabilized quickly. Non-rebreather, blood work, IVs, chest x-ray, EKG, CT scans, all the normal things I would expect to be run. Being on the other side of the care experience was an eye-opening event. Even though I was able to process everything occurring, I was scared. The team kept me informed and at ease the best they could.

The support my family received was amazing. That alone helped me mentally since the family was my main concern. They were taken care of and we quickly realized what the CarolinaEast family is all about. Everyone was amazing and kept checking on Heather and the children. The team went above and beyond. Once all the results were back I was admitted to the COVID floor. This team has battled COVID from the start. I quickly realized I was in the best place to recover from this virus. From the start, Mary made sure I was in good hands. Derek quickly informed me what to expect, what to be aware of, and how to best position myself to recover. The plan of care was set in motion and laid out for success. There were a few setbacks but I actually was able to shower and walk the halls in a few days. This may seem simple, but was a huge accomplishment and a morale booster. The encouragement and support provided every day helped me become stronger and closer to recovery. Together the team was phenomenal and contributed to my success in beating COVID.

Buttner Family

Finally I was feeling well enough to go home. After a week of not seeing my family. The greatest gift I could ever receive was returning home to them. Holding and hugging them was the best part on my road to recovery. I thought I was doing everything right. I thought I was protecting my family. I hope you can think about what I went through and what my family endured.  Maybe take the extra step to be that much safer. Encourage others to take things just a little more seriously. Together we all will be able to return to normal sooner.

Submitted by: Brandy Popp, Manager, Public Relations and Outreach, CarolinaEast Health System