Martins Ferry Pastor on Long Road to COVID-19 Recovery

The Rev. William Webster is inching along in his recovery from COVID-19, but is looking forward to feeling better, springtime and watching his tomatoes grow.

Webster, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, has been recovering from the virus since he contracted it in early November.

The virus hit his body so hard that he had to stop work for several weeks. He is now back to part-time, but still is sleeping 11 hours a night and having to take long naps during the day.

He takes a breathing treatment three times per day and has an inhaler for use in between if he needs it.

The virus caused him to develop an infection around the lining of his lungs, known as pleurisy. He recently received a new X-ray of his lungs and is hoping the results show the infection is gone.

“It’s taking so much longer than I thought,” Webster said of his recovery. “I still cough. … I’m still sleeping 11 hours a night. At 3:30 p.m. my body shuts down. I have a tendency to lose my voice. I have 30 steps from the curb to my front door. I don’t have the wind capacity to get up the steps. I feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest.”

Webster noted one improvement is that previously he would have to stop on a landing to rest, he can now go all the way without having to stop.

Webster is looking forward to the day he is fully recovered.

“It gets old. I want to feel good and do things. I want to move the church forward and do stuff. I go and do it and I’m too tired,” he said. “I have to go slow so I don’t overdo things.”

Webster said he is grateful for his doctors who keep checking on him and giving him treatments and medicines.

“I’m grateful. I think they saved me from something really bad. They kept checking in … and made sure it didn’t develop into pneumonia,” he said.

Webster said his family is doing well including his wife who also contracted the virus. Her symptoms, which mimicked a severe sinus infection, lasted about three days.

There are some people in his church who are struggling with the virus right now; two people are in the hospital on ventilators, he said. Webster has been able to avoid hospitalization.

“I think of the people who have died from it .. and people who are sick and on ventilators. It disappoints me when people say it’s nothing or that it’s a hoax. It’s not nothing,” he said.

Webster noted his doctors advised him to wait on getting the COVID-19 vaccine or a seasonal flu shot until he is further along in his recovery.

Meanwhile, Webster is looking forward to spring and has even started some seedlings to grow tomatoes this spring and summer.


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