Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Dan Girard on the porch of his home in Harrison. Girard, who has underlying health issues caused by a blood clot in his lungs, is glad to be secluded in rural area during the virus pandemic. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Nearly two years ago, Dan Girard passed out in his kitchen because of a blood clot in his lungs. He woke up long enough to call 911, and soon was flown to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. There he lay in a hospital bed for a month.

“The doctor said if they brought me in 15 minutes later, I probably wouldn’t be here,” Girard said.

That health scare came two weeks after he moved into the house he built in Harrison, complete with a view of Crystal Lake. Today, he’s glad to be secluded out in the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m retired, 65 years old, and have underlying lung issues from a blood clot in my lungs,” Girard said.

“I’m worried about (my health) – to a degree. There’s nothing I can do about it but take the precautions to stay at home and minimize contact with people. It’s not hard. I’m kind of a hermit. I love being at home. I’m not going to go out and look for the virus.

“I was supposed to go for pulmonary rehab at Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway. They called me last week and said, ‘Don’t come in.’ It’s a shame that has to stop. But for now I”ll stay at home.”

“The blood clot hit me like a brick. Ever since I was 17 I loved to run. I’ve run marathons, half marathons. I bought a stationary bike and got into that. I slowed down the last 10 years, because I didn’t want to get injured.

“I am social, but on my own terms, and don’t find it necessary to go out for whatever social events are out there. I enjoy cooking, playing jazz guitar, jazz piano and classical guitar. I like working in my garden, mowing the lawn, enjoying a cappuccino on my deck in the morning or an Old Fashioned after supper.

“I have always thought ahead of bad snowstorms and other severe weather events – so I’ve always kept a stock of dry goods in case I’m not able to get out. Most importantly, I avoid anyone who has a cold. It’s just common sense. And I have fantastic neighbors. When I built my little house, everyone was stopping by with baked goods to say hi. Now they’re Facebooking me, asking if I need anything. It’s like having family next door.

“I don’t want to come in contact with people until the people in charge figure out what’s going on with the virus. I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do – because I don’t want to go through what I went through in the hospital two years ago.”

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