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Local doctor who survived COVID-19 thankful to be alive

Dr. Tim Martindale. (File)
Dr. Tim Martindale. (File)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 7:13 PM CDT
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A well-known Waco doctor says he and his wife, both of whom contracted COVID-19, are thankful to be alive and well after a nearly three- week battle with the potentially deadly virus.

Dr. Tim Martindale, who is on medical staff at both Ascension Providence Hospital and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, but runs his clinic independently as Martindale Family Medicine Clinic, tested positive for the virus on April 7.

He along with his wife self-quarantined, avoiding hospitalization by leaning on family, friends and faith and being proactive with his health, he said.

"I'm extremely happy that this is behind me although I don't feel 100% quite yet," Martindale said.

Thursday marks 19 days since his symptoms first appeared and his sixth day without a fever.

He was cleared by the public health district to leave isolation Wednesday, but says he plans to stay home for the next few days to continue to rest.

"I've had numerous doctors warn me that this convalescent stage is not light and don't take it lightly and so I've been very careful to be resting. I've stayed at home," he said.

Martindale, who is older than 60 with heart issues, said the battle was tough both mentally and physically.

He believes he avoided major respiratory issues by doing daily breathing exercises, but there were two occasions when he worried he might not survive.

"When the virus first came on the first night, it hit me very hard."

The second big scare came about a week into fighting the curious virus just as he began to feel better.

"I began to feel a sense I was doing better and I know that's another danger time," Martindale said.

"The day before I spent the night through the night in panic feeling that there was almost a certainty that the virus was about to hit another severe phase and it did. It hit me hard but fortunately watching my vital signs and taking medications carefully I got through that process as well."

Martindale tried the much talked about combination of hydroxychloroquine, originally an anti-malaria drug, and the antibiotic azithromycin.

He says while he believes he made the best decision for himself at that time he's not sure it aided in his recovery.

"I guess I'm glad I did take it because it was a very thoughtful considered process in harmony with my physicians to make that decision and I feel that it gave me a slightly better chance that I might survive this and I did indeed survive it," he said.

Martindale chronicled his journey

on KWTX.com, a decision he says he made in hopes of calming fears.

"One of the things that has struck me is the world is paralyzed by fear," he said.

"In many cases people are more fearful of what could happen than what actually does happen."

"I felt for me to talk about this was a bit like open the closet door and shining the light and the boogie man comes out and your realize he's not that scary. I felt part of what I needed to do is talk about this in a way that made people feel equipped, ready, able to know what they may face, able to know someone that they had a face with, that they had some connection with and realize that this person survived and what they went through as a part of that process."

Martindale's best advice to staying virus free is to follow all the recommendations from health experts.

"Don't take this lightly. Do the things that are cautious to keep yourself from getting it because even though you may survive and chances are you will there's also significant chance that the disease might be severe and life threatening.

Martindale saw his first patients online Thursday since falling ill and hopes to return to the office sometime next week.

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