‘My body just ate itself’: KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan reveals serious battle with COVID-19

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Morning commuters know KIRO-Radio’s Chris Sullivan well as “Sully, the traffic chokepoint guru.” But when he contracted COVID-19 two-and-a-half weeks ago, he said he wondered if he would survive. After losing more than 20 pounds, and making three trips to Evergreen Health in Kirkland for IV fluids, he said only now is he feeling the beginning of recovery.

“If I’m at 20% now, I think that’s probably where I’d put it, but 20% is a hell of a lot better than the zero I felt for the last two weeks,” he said.

Sullivan had family travel plans that included long drives to visit his son, Tommy, a long-snapper on the Montana State University football team. He decided to wait on the COVID-19 vaccine because he once had a terrible reaction to the shingles vaccine. He didn’t want to get the shot, or side effects, before a road trip.

“I was like, ‘OK, let’s get through those and see how I do.’ I didn’t want to have a bad reaction,” Sullivan said.

He also had taken precautions, by frequently wearing a mask. But within three days after visiting Montana, he became seriously ill. “COVID basically attacked my entire system, one component at a time,” he said. “It was almost like it was toying with me.”

Sullivan had to be treated at the emergency room at Evergreen Health three times. He was too sick to eat for 10 days.

“It just kept moving methodically and testing and jabbing and poking my perimeter,” he said. “Every time I fought it, it decided, ‘OK, fine, I’m going somewhere else.’ And it was relentless, it hit everything.”

The once stocky strong guy took a photo to show his listeners how a lot of his body mass was gone in days. He credits his wife with encouraging him to try to eat.

“I lost 23 pounds of muscle,” he said. “I mean my body just ate itself. I mean, thank God it was there.”

Now, Sullivan is sharing his story as a cautionary tale for people hesitant to get the vaccine. “I probably should have, if I was able to earlier, just go ahead and get that COVID shot. Don’t let your guard down, because this thing can grab you and it can not only knock you down, but it can take you.”

Sullivan understands there are many reasons why people may choose to delay the vaccine, or not get vaccinated at all, but he said he wishes he had made different choices for himself.

“If you have the chance to get the shot, you should take it,” he said.