April 28, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Costa Constantinides and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month but are now on their way to making a full recovery.
Constantinides provided a harrowing account of his experience — and his family’s — when he discussed it on a Zoom and Facebook Live stream Tuesday.
“It was a really scary time… a very scary moment in our home,” he said.
The council member said that in the past month he has been hospitalized on three separate occasions while his wife Lori – who has a number of pre-existing conditions – spent 12 consecutive days in the hospital due to COVID-19 and required an oxygen mask to help her breathe.
Constantinides has stated previously that his wife has diabetes and is in need of a kidney transplant.
The lawmaker described the experience as frightening but considers himself lucky when taking into account the thousands of New Yorkers who have perished due to the deadly virus.
The lawmaker said that the family’s “roller-coaster” month kicked off on March 29 when he came down with a high fever while playing video games with his son, Nico.
He said his fever shot up to 102 degrees and over the next few days he developed a cough. He visited Mount Sinai Hospital Queens on April 1 to get tested for COVID-19. The result later came back positive.
His wife also began experiencing a fever around this time and while she endured the sickness for a couple of days – it soon became so unbearable that she was rushed to the hospital on April 4. Her condition deteriorated to the point where she needed to be hooked up to an oxygen mask and she had no idea where she was, he said.
Constantinides also grew sicker and when he returned to the hospital on April 5 he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He said the news was terrifying but the doctor reassured him that he would be fine.
His wife was eventually discharged on April 16 and the couple have been in quarantine in his mother-in-law’s basement since. They opted to stay there instead of their third-floor apartment to avoid the strenuous task of climbing stairs, he said.
Their son Nico remained healthy throughout the ordeal and he has been living with his aunt while his parents have been quarantined. He has been able to see his parents while abiding by strict social distancing rules.
However, the family had to endure another health scare over the weekend.
Constantinides– weakened by the virus–experienced chest pains while coughing.
“I coughed and all of a sudden I had a pain in the middle of my chest, it felt like a heart attack,” he said. It was a big source of concern since his father – who died 15 years ago – had a history of heart problems.
Constantinides, 45, said that his father suffered his first heart attack when he was in his forties.
The council member went back to the hospital last Saturday and the medical staff carried out a number of tests before giving him the all-clear with his heart.
He said he is still recovering from the virus and he continues to have issues with his stomach. His wife is also on the mend but she too has not fully recovered, he said.
“My wife is still having issues with her dialysis which makes it more challenging but we’re slowly working our way back and that’s all you can ask for,” Constantinides said.