Returning to the historic Ellis County Courthouse was a big moment recently for County Judge Todd Little after his long hard-fought battle with COVID-19. The encouragement from family, friends and people from across the county, along with treatment, helped him through, he told the Sun.
Little said his overall health fluctuated daily as he fought the virus.
“I had a few good days and a few bad days, but they were alternating good and bad days,” Little said. “I started feeling bad again on day five. I said to my wife, ‘Honey, if I don’t feel better on day six, I am immediately going to get a test.’ ”
Little experienced a wide variety of symptoms that included low-grade fever, severe body aches, a sore throat, lack of sleep, weight loss, taste, and being generally uncomfortable. However, one of the most pronounced symptoms, he said, was how the virus affected his memory, ability to focus, and vision. At times, he said he was almost seeing double.
“I could not focus with my glasses, corrective lenses, or without them,” he said. “I’ve had short-term memory loss; I can’t remember the things that happened right before I got the virus. This is the weirdest thing.
“Of course, I lost the taste and smell; everything tasted terrible,” he said. “I didn’t eat for five or six days. I lost 12 pounds. For me, that is a lot of weight. Two holes on a belt. Even today I have not regained it.”
Since his health was not improving, Little made the decision to seek help at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie. At the hospital’s emergency room, he was given a rapid COVID-19 test, which returned a positive result. Prior to his positive COVID-19 test, Little had not been vaccinated against the virus.
From there he was taken to a hospital tent set up just outside the ER for patients to receive the monoclonal antibody therapy, more commonly known as the Regeneron treatment.
Little said he’d already seen how the treatment made a positive difference in his wife’s health – and witnessing it was inspirational. She has since made a full recovery.
“She had already gotten the monoclonal antibody treatment and I saw on day four she had already reduced symptoms,” Little said. “So, I knew that I was a believer because I saw her go through it, but I waited until day seven because I am just a little bit more stubborn than she is.”
According to the Texas Health and Human Services website, monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies to restore, enhance, or mimic the immune system’s function to attack foreign cells. These treatments attack the COVID-19 protein making it more difficult for the virus to attach to and enter human cells. The treatment is designed for use within 10 days of symptom onset.
As Little battled the virus there were points when he said he thought he might die, one being when his temperature went up to 103.5 the night after he got the treatment. He recalled telling his wife at the time, “If the temperature does not come down tomorrow, I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
The next morning, however, Little started feeling differently and his condition slowly improved. He said the support of family, friends, and people in the county helped to lift his spirits and keep him going during those difficult moments.
“There is no doubt about it that the love, the prayers, and the support helped,” Little said. “As I started to feel better it made me want to come back to work. It made me want to come back and do my job.”
Little expressed his thanks to the hospital staff for the care they provided him and others – and continue to do while putting their own lives at risk. While continuing to recover, Little said he is looking at all of the information about the vaccine and, if it is safe for him, he will exercise that option. He wants to encourage people to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they being experiencing symptoms – and to continue to provide support to those who are battling COVID-19.