Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh Recalls ‘Very Dark’ COVID-19 Delusions
Mark Mothersbaugh experienced “very dark” delusions while hospitalized due to COVID-19.
“There’s a bookstore I love (in Los Angeles) where I get stationery supplies, and in my mind I had been there,” the 70 year-old rocker recalled. “I was convinced for about two weeks that I had been hit by a brick by somebody in Little Tokyo.”
In Mothersbaugh’s mind, he had been the victim of a vicious attack. His hallucinations even created a backstory surrounding the fictitious event. “I felt blood from being hit. I was handcuffed to a parking deck downtown. I had this whole elaborate story of how these kids sold me to an ambulance company that then got some sort of a payment for delivering COVID patients to their ICUs,” the singer envisioned. “I totally believed it.”
In actuality, the Devo frontman was connected to a ventilator and fighting for his life.
It was June when Mothersbaugh came down with a 103 degree fever and, at the insistence of a nurse, called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.
“It went from, ‘I don’t feel good’ on Tuesday to an ambulance to Cedars on Saturday,” revealed the rocker’s wife, Anita Greenspan. “It was terrifying.”
For 18 days, Mothersbaugh was isolated in his ICU bed at Cedars-Sinai hospital, drifting in and out of consciousness. While a ventilator helped him breathe, various other machines tracked his vital signs. The musician’s family braced for the worst, while his only interactions with loved ones came via video chat. At other points, the virus took his mind to strange places.
“Some of the delusions were very dark,” Mothersbaugh recalled. “Like, ‘Oh no, I have to get out of this place.’”
“I just felt exhausted,” the rocker continued. “Like, ‘I could just float down this river right now, and it would be really peaceful. It wouldn’t be a freak-out. It wouldn’t be something I’d be scared of. I could really just do that.’ I really thought about it.”
Mothersbaugh also hallucinated working with his band. “I wrote a whole new Devo album and put together a whole live show,” the singer explained, adding that he even envisioned a live show that utilized augmented reality. “We were standing on top of these projections, which were growing somehow.”
Nearly two months after being discharged from the hospital, Mothersbaugh is still feeling the virus’ effects. He has “a little thing with (his) nerves” which causes tremors and an overall “creepy” physical state.
“Before COVID, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m starting to feel about 50 now, and I’m 70.’ When I was in the hospital, I was feeling like I was about 90. And now I’m back to 70, and I’m trying to get back to 50. That’s my goal.”
Mothersbaugh wants doubters to know that the coronavirus is real and needs to be taken seriously. He further stressed the importance of staying connected to those battling the disease.
“If you have anyone that you know who’s in ICU with COVID, contact them and keep them in touch with the outside world, because it’s easy to lose track of where you are and why you are,” the rocker explained. “I had no idea I was on a ventilator for 10 days. Time meant nothing.”