Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer. (Photo submitted)

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer. (Photo submitted)

Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

A Stettler couple known for their stellar musical gifts are now speaking out about their harrowing battles with COVID-19.

Russ and Luanne Carl, part of the popular local band Renegade Station, posted a powerful and sobering video recently where they detailed their experiences with COVID-19 this past summer.

Both contracted the infection in July when there was a spike in cases in the County of Stettler.

They are now hopeful that by being completely open about it, that people will in general take the pandemic more seriously and also do more to bolster personal precautionary measures.

As mentioned, both were infected but Luanne’s battle was particularly severe.

“My symptoms started on about July 11th,” explained Luanne during a recent interview. “I thought it was allergies – something I have had since I was a little girl. I can tell the difference between my allergies and a cold.”

The couple were heading down to Lethbridge to go camping, and besides the sniffles, she was feeling fine.

They met up with family at the campground, and mentioned the following day that they were going to keep up the social distancing because she didn’t want to get anyone else sick.

But in the meantime, her symptoms continued to worsen. “I still wasn’t thinking that I had COVID. But on the Tuesday I woke up and I felt awful,” she explained, adding she was feeling sicker by the hour at that point.

“Thirty minutes would go by and I would be that much worse.”

By the time they returned home, Luanne headed to bed feeling absolutely exhausted. And by this point, Russ was starting to feel symptoms as well.

They also arranged to be tested for COVID-19.

“We didn’t leave the house. We had friends bring us some groceries, and we just stayed in. I wasn’t well enough to even go outside.”

By the end of that week, Russ was starting to improve in terms of symptoms, although he would ultimately lose his senses of taste and smell for about three months.

Luanne’s condition, however, continued to worsen.

“On the Saturday and Sunday, I was too weak to even walk. I needed Russ to help me with pretty much everything. Everything hurt, and it would make me nauseous so I would take Gravol to counteract that,” she recalled.

“I also had chest pain – and that was when I got really scared. It woke me up,” she said, recalling how she was also dreading being hospitalized and having to be quarantined from her family.

“You go through all of those scenarios,” she said. “And this whole time my gums were bleeding – and when I say bleeding I mean bleeding. Not just when you are brushing your teeth and it happens sometimes,” she said.

Early the next week they were tested. “For me, just to get in the vehicle and go to the testing drive-through was enough to put me in bed for the rest of the day.”

The next day, she woke up at 5 a.m. and literally couldn’t close her mouth.

“I couldn’t eat or chew, and of course my gums were bleeding.” That was the day she went to the hospital, where she was treated initially for pneumonia as the COVID-19 results hadn’t been returned at that point.

She went home, and two days later learned that she and Russ had tested positive.

Improvements came very gradually, and to this day, there are some lasting effects. “I still have issues with my gums,” she said. “And I still have to rest or have a nap on my lunch hour.

“Looking back, we’ve had a couple of shows since and I would think that I must be out of shape because I would be out of breath.”

Luanne also explained that they knew at some point they wanted to share their story.

“We talked about it very soon after recovering that we needed to tell our story,” she said, noting that they were at first hesitant because they felt a bit of stigma about it.

“How did I get this? What did I do wrong? And then there was the absolute guilt about having to contact the people you were with – I was a sobbing mess. Russ had to talk to our kids,” she said.

Thankfully, no one they were with during the camping trip was infected.

They hope the video builds awareness abut the seriousness of COVID-19, and makes more folks realize how vitally important it is to be careful. Since they spoken about it, the story has also gone national appearing in the Calgary Herald, CTV and the National Post and beyond.

“We’ve had more positive messages than negative,” she said. “We all just need to be careful – we need to get this under control and we need to stay safe.

“It’s about looking out for your fellow human beings,” she said. “And there are lots of ways we can still support our small businesses, and lots of things we can do to help each other and to stay safe and not hurt someone who is more vulnerable.”

You can check out the video on the Renegade Station Facebook page.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

File photo
Leduc RCMP lay charges in theft of catalytic converters

Two males arresed and charged with theft of several catalytic converters.

Black Press file photo
UPDATE: Leduc RCMP on scene of serious collision at intersection of Highway 2A and Highway 616

Both drivers were transported to hospital in serious condition; all lanes of travel now open.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. TC Energy Corp. is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed for the expansion

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

Most Read