“Still (I’m feeling) fatigue, headache, sleeplessness,” Shiflet said. “I’ve got tinnitus in my ears now. My arms are all blown up as far as like pain … (and) just swelling in my forearms. Breathlessness when I go and exercise. Breathlessness at night when I sleep.”
But the scariest part was the pain in his chest and heart, he said.
“It starts to feel like a heart attack,” Shiflet said. “It feels like I’m having pain radiating in my arm … throbbing numbness pain down your arm. And that like as well as chest pain that comes on like an explosive, stabbing pain.”
That sent him to the ER again, though doctors couldn’t pinpoint anything wrong with him, he said.
In March of this year, when The Aspen Times spoke with Shiflet on the year anniversary of his illness, he said his prognosis was marginally better. He’d begun riding a stationary bike in his garage, first for 10 minutes and finally working up to 30 minutes at a time. That seemed to treat him all right, so he said he decided to try skinning up the mountain.
Clay and Sarah on Aspen Highlands in pre-pandemic times.
“It was weird, you know, I was definitely having some shortness of breath and feeling some weird pulsing in my heart, but I made it and just took it easy and went slow,” Shiflet said. “Then I tried that a few more times over the last couple weeks and last week — you know my nature is to start pushing and I just pushed it — and I’ve been punished ever since. I really overdid it and my system is shocked from that.”
Overall, while he said he feels better a year later than he did after six months, Shiflet is far from back to his normal self.
“I’m still experiencing the weird chest pains, like heart pains, breathlessness, sleeplessness, cramping, fatigue,” he said. “All of that weighs on me mentally and physically. I’m definitely not myself. I don’t wrestle around with my kids like I used to. That’s all tough.”