After Ryan Temby’s wife was in contact with a co-worker who was confirmed to have the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Temby family immediately went into quarantine. She showed very mild symptoms, similar to the symptoms of seasonal allergies, but did not experience any serious concerns. The family kept some distance within the house to try and avoid spreading the illness. Ryan and his two young adult children were doing fine.
About four days later, however, Temby started to have symptoms – and then rapidly declined.
“I am not the person I was before the virus,” he said.
It started as an achy, sore throat with an infrequent cough, every 30 to 60 minutes, Temby said. On Day 5, however, he started to feel very poor.
He called his normal doctor, who told him not to come in for treatment, saying he should remain in quarantine. It’s better to just assume you have the virus and quarantine for at least 14 days, the doctor told him. Temby was not officially tested for COVID-19 since he is not considered a high-risk patient.
Temby said he got rapidly and progressively worse.
“It’s a weird virus. For the first few days, you feel fine, like nothing is wrong. But, suddenly, you feel awful when the fever sets in,” he said. “At first it felt like I had a cat sitting on my chest – I couldn’t breathe. That feeling quickly got worse. For a few days I felt like I had a Bernese mountain dog sitting on my chest.”
Temby said acetaminophen helped when the fever was at its height. He had a bad sore throat and was very lethargic. He cycled through the fever and breathing issues for about six days.
He was able to get supplementary medical care and advice through his Sigma Chi network. Two doctor brothers were personally checking in on Temby and answering questions.
“They have been incredible,” he said of his brothers.
On about the seventh day after Temby’s worst symptoms manifested, he woke up feeling somewhat better after a long night. That was just under a week ago, and “I’m feeling better and better every day” since, he said.
Ryan’s son, unfortunately, has been sick, following the same illness cycle as his father but a few days behind. Temby said his son is doing OK and he expects major improvement any day now. Temby’s daughter has been fine, not at all sick, and has been helping to take care of the rest of the family. His wife also remains well.
“We’ve always been a very close family,” he said. “Fortunately being in quarantine hasn’t been an issue. For example, we are playing video games from different rooms of the house. Despite everything, it’s been nice to spend time with them.”
Temby says he felt it was important to share his story with his Sigma Chi brothers and the interfraternal community. He serves the fraternity internationally as grand treasurer so his leadership role allows him to connect with many people.
“I want to get out there to the guys how dangerous and serious this is,” he said. “I hope the messages that I put out made them take precautions and make smart choices, to realize how serious this pandemic is.”
He has been posting about his experience in a closed social media group for brothers.
“The response has been unbelievable. People are calling, texting, sending flowers,” he said.
Temby says he got the best advice on dealing with the illness via social media from a brother he’s never met. The brother sent him a podcast from a doctor in Hong Kong who had been treating patients for months that he found helpful.
The two Sigma Chi doctors have been amazing friends and advisors, he said. They call and check in every day. Both offered to come to his house, and one of them actually did personally check in on Temby – wearing full protective gear and staying appropriately distanced.
“The brothers coming out to help have been incredible,” he said.
This week he is planning to emerge from quarantine and slowly resume working remotely, both for the NIC and for Sigma Chi.
“I’m ready to hear how the rest of the brothers are doing and how the fraternity world is doing,” he said.
NIC Vice President of Campus Operations Ryan Temby and his family have been suffering a respiratory illness while quarantined at home in the Columbus, Ohio, area in recent weeks. We wanted to provide this real life perspective and share how his Sigma Chi brotherhood helped Ryan as he battled this virus.