By David Fleet
Pastor Ben Gonzales said he was never afraid.
“I knew I had the coronavirus,” he said. “God gave me peace—it’s in his hands.”
Gonzales, 39, has been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Goodrich, 6116 S. State Road, for about two and half years. He has been in the ministry for about 20 years.
On Tuesday, March 24 he was diagnosed and received treatment for the coronavirus after he was admitted to Ascension Genesys Hospital, Grand Blanc on Sunday.
Two weeks ago on Sunday, March 15, Gonzales said he was just fine.
“There were just a few restriction due to the coronavirus and our congregation was under 250 people so that was fine,” he said. “Then on Monday I started headaches, by Tuesday I knew something was up. Wednesday I was in bed and stayed there with some body aches. Saturday I felt better but Sunday (March 22) not only did I have a headache, but also breathing issues. I just could not take a deep breath. I thought, this is not good.”
Ben’s wife Shannon drove him to Genesys on Sunday night.
“The hospital was under lock-down, so only I could go in,” he said. “They started doing tests on me and they went up my nose four times with probes. It was uncomfortable, but they had to rule out flues and other things.”
Shannon, observed the testing process in the hospital seems to be complicated and can be confusing, she said on a Facebook post. “These are all new processes for many at the hospital and in our county,” she said.
“Everyone is learning.”
Finally, a nurse dressed in a hazmat suit came into his room with a “long look” on her face and reported his positive test for COVID-19.
“I was not surprised,” he said. “Actually I was hungry at that time and she agreed I could get a Subway order. That made me very happy.”
There is not much they can do for me, he said.
He was released from the hospital and is isolated at his home.
“I was feeling better at that time, other than being hungry,” he said. “People just need to stay cautious and everyone’s symptoms are different—some are not severe. Just stay calm, everyone handles the exposure differently.”
It was determined that two individuals in the church congregation also tested positive, he said.
“There’s really no one to blame,” he said. “We took precautions, I’m not out to find who gave coronavirus to me—that’s in God’s hands. It was a reminder to me of just how frail we all are and how quickly live can go south. We are so grateful for all the calls and prayers we had through this. I can feel the love of our community. We are truly thankful.”