Mark Dubois fought for his life.
A law school professor, attorney at Geraghty & Bonnano and Connecticut’s former chief disciplinary counsel, Dubois returned home Friday after an eight-day stay in a hospital to treat COVID-19.
He was in isolation.
He was nervous.
And he wrestled with guilt.
“I feel blessed that I was spared the worst of it, and got incredible medical care,” he said. “Many were not so lucky. Why me? Why did I deserve to live?”
A columnist for ALM’s Connecticut Law Tribune, Dubois has long served as a resource for attorneys, law students and journalists. But he was reluctant to step into the spotlight.
“I’m struggling with survivor’s guilt, so I don’t want to make this too much about me,” he said. “But here is some info which others might learn from.”
‘Blessed, unworthy and grateful’
Dubois lost about 25 pounds during his illness.
He is regaining strength after about two weeks of experiencing his first symptoms.
“I am home, getting stronger every day, and planning to resume teaching remotely,” he said. “I feel blessed, unworthy and grateful.”
The 70-year-old thought he’d been doing everything right to protect himself and his family. He got tested only because he was volunteering at a soup kitchen in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
“I have no idea where I picked it up. I was socially isolated, and working with a small crew cooking. I was running and biking alone. We were avoiding any crowds, stores and such,” he said. “Just lucky, I guess.”
What followed was ”two weeks of hell,” Dubois said.
“I was tested—twice—but the results were slow coming in. After several days in the hospital we got the results of two tests—both positive,” he said. “It was no surprise to anyone. By then I was in-patient in the hospital.”
Dubois remained in isolation at the University of Connecticut Medical Center, where he doctors and nurses had to visit him in full protective gear.
“These folks are heroes,” he said. “I owe my life to them.”
Dubois also thanked his friends, family and colleagues.
“My wife relied on a network of nurses, friends and medical professionals and has been incredibly supportive throughout it all,” he said. “She missed the worst of the symptoms. I don’t know what I would have done if she were as sick as I was.”
Now, the attorney is turning his focus to new goals. “Regain some of the 25 pounds I lost, return to teaching, and pay back the universe,” he said.
His best tips: a digital thermometer and a pulse-oximeter to test blood oxygen were invaluable tools to follow his progress.
“Avoiding infection in the first instance is paramount,” Dubois said. “After that, all you can do is treat the symptoms. Wash, isolate, stay safe.”