Brandon Peters was keeping his bubble small this summer.
The Vancouver resident planted a "COVID garden" and planned on playing it as safe as possible during the pandemic. Those plans were derailed, and so was his health, after attending the funeral of a loved one on Tla'amin Nation territory on the north Sunshine Coast near Powell River, B.C.
Peters, a member of the nation, was diagnosed with COVID-19 within days of the visit. After spending most of September in bed fighting the virus, he is now speaking out publicly to warn people just how hard that fight can be.
"I opened myself up for just a minute, a couple people hugged me, and I got sick within a couple of days," said Peters Thursday on On The Island.
He said when he left the north Sunshine Coast, he was so overcome with fatigue he could not complete the 80 kilometre drive to the Langdale Ferry Terminal to catch a ferry to the Lower Mainland. Instead, he had to pull over and sleep.
Peters did make it back to Vancouver though, only to have a horrible night where he said he felt "deep pain" throughout his body and had an excruciating headache.
Down for the count
The next day he got tested for COVID-19. The day after that, he learned he was positive.
For the next few weeks, Peters lay in bed so overcome with exhaustion he said he couldn't eat anything and drank only water.
"The fatigue was so intense I would have to gather my gumption just to go to the washroom," he said.
In a recently uploaded video on the Tla'amin Nation's Facebook page, Peters says he wondered every day while bed-ridden if he was going to make it to see another week.
Fortunately, Peters was never hospitalized and says he now has about 80 per cent of his strength back. Now he wants to tell others his story to try and prevent anyone from going through the harrowing ordeal he did — or worse.
The video is part of sharing that story.
"People might look at me like a leper over the next little while but I think if I help a couple people it will make the video worthwhile," said Peters.
He said it is important to him that people take the risks of the virus seriously and stop engaging in activities that could put themselves or others at risk.
"This is going to be with us for a while and we need to make those responsible decisions."
According to a media release from the Tla'amin Nation, there have been 36 positive COVID-19 cases reported in the nation since September 7.
The community is currently in a state of local emergency and non-approved visitors are restricted from Tla'amin land.
To hear the complete interview with Brandon Peters on On The Island, tap here.