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

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Stettler sign
Stettler Community Builders initiaitve continues to take shape

Project will honour Stettler citizens who were influential in the town’s history

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

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

Stettler town hall. (Lisa Joy/Stettler Independent)
The proposed Stettler Skate Park expansion is one more step closer to fruition

The third phase of the skateboard park will see a concrete ‘bowl’ added to the edge of the existing skatepark

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

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’

Most Read