December 28, 2020 at 3:31 p.m.

Farming while recovering from COVID-19

Hintzen has yet to retain sense of taste weeks after contracting virus
Leonard and Jodi HIntzen are pictured Dec. 15 at their home near Carlos, Minnesota. The Hintzens had COVID-19 in October. Leonard has yet to regain his sense of taste. They milk 38 cows.  PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING
Leonard and Jodi HIntzen are pictured Dec. 15 at their home near Carlos, Minnesota. The Hintzens had COVID-19 in October. Leonard has yet to regain his sense of taste. They milk 38 cows. PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING

By Andrea Borgerding & Danna Sabolik- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

    CARLOS, Minn. – Leonard and Jodi Hintzen hope no one has to experience COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The couple milks 38 cows near Carlos and tested positive for the virus in October. They are happy to be on the other side of the illness.
    “We always felt it was something we needed to be careful with,” Jodi said. “We know it’s real and people can get it, and knowing it’s very widespread now it’s pretty hard to avoid.”
    On Oct. 21, Leonard began to feel pain between his shoulder blades and had a bad headache.
    “I took it easy the next day and didn’t do too much because I was feeling pretty weak,” Leonard said.
    When Jodi came home, Leonard was about to start evening chores.
    “She asked if I felt all right or had a fever,” Leonard said. “She said my face was all red.”
    Leonard took his temperature and it read 101 degrees. He decided to do chores that evening but would go to the doctor in the morning if he still had a fever and was feeling ill.
    “I had a treated cow that I milked first and was waiting in the milkhouse for the sanitize cycle to get done on the pipeline,” he said. “I started to sweat profusely and got lightheaded and then I passed out.”
    Leonard came to as his brother, Steve, who helps on the farm, was shaking him and asking if he was alright.
    Steve finished up milking, and Jodi brought Leonard to the ER at Alomere Hospital in Alexandria. She could not join him inside. Leonard was sent to a special COVID-19 designated room where the healthcare workers who attended to him were equipped with personal protective equipment.
    “About two hours later, they said I had COVID-19,” Leonard said. “My blood oxygen level was fine but since I passed out, they wanted to get an X-ray of my lungs.”
    Everything checked out OK, and Leonard was sent home and directed to quarantine for 14 days. They had to notify any close contacts to do the same and be tested. Leonard was told to take Ibuprofen and Tylenol as needed, and if his symptoms worsened, to come back.
    Just before they had left the house earlier that evening, Leonard grabbed a cookie and could taste it; however, when they got home late from the hospital, Leonard could not taste the sandwich Jodi made him.
    “I still can’t taste,” Leonard said. “Sugar and salt have a different feeling in my mouth. I can’t really smell anything either.”
    While he endured COVID-19, Leonard experienced a variety of symptoms.
    “The first seven days I was really tired,” he said. “My fever never came back, but I felt like I wanted to sleep all the time. I would sleep but wake up after an hour. I had diarrhea for seven days.”
Leonard typically is wary of cold and flu season because he has chronic bronchitis.
    “I never really got any coughing or flu symptoms though,” he said. “It probably helped that I had flu and pneumonia shots earlier in the fall.”
    Jodi worried about him as well.
    “There were times when you did a little bit of work and your heart would race,” she said.
    Leonard’s pulse oximeter would show his standing pulse rate was 120 beats per minute and his oxygen level was low.
    “I would sit down and wait for my heart to slow down,” he said. “I did that a lot the first week.”
    He had a virtual follow-up appointment with his doctor Nov. 5.
    “I was put on Vitamin C supplements,” Leonard said. “I was told that if I was working outside and got tired to sit down and rest because they don’t know if symptoms can come back or make me weak and catch a cold.”
    Leonard said now he can get milking done twice a day with a little work during the day and be fine, but if he works too hard, he needs to rest.
    “Last Friday, we cleaned the calf barn and unloaded corn,” Leonard said. “I spent the whole day working, but then Saturday and Sunday I didn’t feel well at all. I was worn down.”
    Since Steve lives with their mother, she was in close contact and had to be tested as well. They both tested positive and Anita, who is 84 years old, experienced nausea and one day of a fever. Steve tested positive but only had a cough so was able to handle chores most days while Leonard was feeling the worst. Neither of them lost their sense of taste or smell.
    “Mom said that anything she ate tasted terrible,” Leonard said. “But she didn’t lose her taste.”
    Recovery is taking longer than Leonard would like, but he has been able to manage the workload so far.
    “If I don’t overdo it, I don’t feel bad,” he said.
    Jodi tested positive as well, and although she never had a fever, she was very tired and experienced body aches the first few days.
    “You just feel like you could sit on the couch all day,” Jodi said.
    Jodi works as a Douglas County Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development currently from home.
    The couple is still wondering where they contracted the virus.
    “He got a call from the department of health and tried to trace it back two or three days,” Jodi said.
    Leonard said they abided to the health department’s guidelines.
    “Wherever we went, we wore a mask and would use hand sanitizer,” he said. “They tell you not to touch your face, but that’s a hard thing to do.”
    In spite of their best efforts, the Hintzens contracted the coronavirus.
    “I just think it’s everywhere and you kind of roll the dice when you go out in public,” Jodi said. “I feel like we’ve been very lucky. We got care packages from our kids and used grocery pickup service. It was manageable.”


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.