There is no more important story surrounding the New York Mets this offseason than what you are about to listen to: It’s not about Steve Cohen. Sandy Alderson. Jared Porter. George Springer. Trevor Bauer. D.J. LeMahieu. It’s about Michael Mayer.
Mayer, the executive editor for Metsmerized Online, published his first words on his battle with COVID-19. On this special edition of the MetsRewind podcast, Mayer shares his story, its challenges (life, family, professional) and how he survived over the holiday season.
On Thanksgiving morning, Michael Mayer woke up and immediately sensed something wasn’t right. By the time he set his feet on the floor and walked from his bedroom to the bathroom, he described feeling “weird.”
“I had this bout of nausea that kind of came over me,” he remembers.
Then, the lights went out — literally. Mayer collapsed on the bathroom floor, hitting his head against the wall.
“I woke up with my wife over the top of me,” he told MetsRewind. “She was on the phone with 9-1-1 trying to get an ambulance here. She just heard as you stuck upstairs and she came running.”
When Mayer regained consciousness he was having a difficult time breathing. “hat was the scariest part,” re said. “Besides the fact that I had just woken up after blacking out. Thanksgiving morning and here I am on the floor. You know, I’ve heard this from people who have experienced COVID.”
Mayer said his breathing was getting worse because of stress and panic. “I had actually felt somewhat something similar when I was 14 or 15. I almost drowned. I was underwater for awhile and it kind of felt like that thing sensation where I was just trying to take a breath and there wasn’t any breath to take.”
Mayer was rushed to the hospital and, within an hour, was diagnosed with COVID-19. But it wasn’t the diagnoses that concerned Mayer as much as the seemingly flippant way in which the medical staff informed him of the news.
“It felt bizarre to me,” he said. “It felt so nonchalant. [They] essentially came in and told me I had it. He wasn’t sure exactly what the CDC was recommending, but that I should go in quarantine and they brought me my paper that said that I tested positive and she showed me the door.”
It all happened so quickly. Just a couple hours earlier, Mayer was sound asleep in bed and now, he was in a hospital bed facing a potential life-threatening virus.
“You worry about the people you’ve now come in contact with: My wife, my four year old son …” said Mayer. “So, it was honestly a sense of, well, what the hell are we going to do next? Fortunately, I have a nurse on each side of our family and I my best man for my wedding is a doctor in the Navy. So we called all of them and leaned on them for information about what we should do next.”
Mayer returned home and retreated away from the family into a small spare room in their home. For the next couple of weeks it was his home. After one week he began feeling that the virus was losing its grip on him. He found hope and comfort in the evening Facetime calls and Facebook Messenger chats with his wife and son.
“He’s four and he’s very bright,” said Mayer. “He kind of knew what was going on but he was still a little confused about why I had to be in there that long . Just being able to see him at bedtime … and when we’re having dinner, joking around and stuff on FaceTime messenger. It was making him happy.
“I’m generally a fairly optimistic person and I think that I was pushing myself to beat it. After a week I was actually doing some writing and reporting for the site. That helped me get back to normal.”
In hindsight, Mayer is grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with his family and make family a priority. “I kind of broke down a little bit and told my wife that this was obviously a bad thing that happened, but it also, it made me come to realization that sometimes we take the little things for granted. That time you have with your son before he goes to bed. The time you see your wife, and sometimes you say you’re too busy with other stuff. Then it made me realize that my family, they’re your loved ones. And that they really should be your focus. In that regard, that is probably one of the best things that happened to me.”
When Michael Mayer looks back today and thinks of everything he went through — the diagnoses of COVID, the health challenges, the time alone away from his family, the medical bills, work — he looks at the bigger picture and get frustrated with the process.
“The most frustrating part was the emergency room where I was essentially given no information and not really any place to look for information or go to for information” he said. “I think there should obviously be better communication between hospitals and CDC. I suggested to my wife that it’s kind of crazy that, at this point, they don’t have a liaison at every hospital.
“The nurse and the doctor told me that I had COVID. I felt like someone should have been walking me through step-by-step what my next two weeks look like, what I could do to help what I could do to keep my family safe. I felt like that was definitely something that should have came firsthand from someone at the hospital … It was unnecessary stress.”