At 36, he was practically the picture of health ― until he contracted COVID-19

‘This is not a joke’: Oahu man recovering from COVID-19 shares near-death experience

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aaron Mikami was practically the picture of health up until last month, when he contracted COVID-19 at a wedding and developed severe symptoms within days.

The 36-year-old is a promoter, manager for Hawaiian musician Josh Tatofi, assistant coach for football at St. Louis and a radio personality.

His only pre-existing conditions: Asthma and high blood pressure.

On Dec. 12, Mikami says he was eating dinner at a wedding with his music group. They were in a green room area when four others wearing masks came and said hello.

According to Mikami, everyone was socially distanced.

But four days later, he found out three people at the dinner tested positive for COVID-19. Then he took a test and found out he contracted the virus, too.

He checked himself into a hotel because the only other person in the household was his mother, and he wanted to avoid spreading the virus to her.

Then around Christmas, he described the onset of symptoms.

“I remember I was eating something and I was like, I can’t taste this,” Mikami said.

“So I got my deodorant and I opened it up and I smelled it and I was like, I can’t smell anything. And that’s when I got kind of like, OK, this is, this is getting for real.”

The symptoms were minimal for the first few days but increased as time went by.

Two days after Christmas, Mikami’s friend went to check on him.

“So he called my hotel room,” Mikami said. “I didn’t answer; call my cell phone, didn’t answer; went to my hotel room door knocked on it, didn’t answer. Don’t know how long I was I was unresponsive.”

Paramedics found Mikami unresponsive in the bathtub, rushed him to the hospital and immediately put him on a ventilator.

“They realized my kidney shut down, put me on dialysis and they’re doing more tests and observations, they realize my lungs collapsed, had pneumonia,” Mikami said. “They found that I had bleeding ulcers in my stomach, and they also found that I had fungus in my blood.”

Mikami was in a coma for three days. He spent a total of two weeks in the hospital.

Family and friends feared the worst.

But his condition started to improve and finally, he was released. He knows how lucky he is.

“This could have gone two other ways, and the doctors told me ... one, you wouldn’t be here today, or two, youʻd be a vegetable,” he said, holding back tears. “And when the doctors came in and told me ... we see that for you, and this is the date that we’re looking at. And I just, I couldn’t believe it.”

Mikami is continuing to recover at home and he knows the road ahead won’t be easy.

He now has Type 2 diabetes, takes insulin and checks his blood sugar before every meal. He also lost almost 40 pounds and is still going to physical therapy.

Mikami has a message for those who aren’t taking the virus seriously.

“This is not a joke,” he said. “You know, prior to me getting COVID, I was pretty on it — wearing my mask, I carry a sanitizer with me everywhere I went, I made sure I sanitized, everybody that was with me as well, you know? This is something that you don’t ever want to go through.

“And if you feel that you’re immortal to COVID-19, you’re going to learn real quick.”

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