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Robert Harrison

Survivor

Before last year I was very healthy and hadn’t taken a sick day in over 15 years. Outside of the occasional head cold or touch of flu I never got sick. Extremely active. Most of my career has been in the restaurant business in upper management frequently traveling. Avid outdoorsmen and for my 57 years in better than average condition. No previous hospitalizations (a few minor outpatient procedures) and not on any meds.

I contracted Covid in Early August 2021. (Sepsis and COVID-19) Had a cough and general flu-like symptoms on Sunday. I tested positive on Monday. Worked from home Tuesday and Wed and called my boss on Thursday and told him I was going to take the next 2 days and the weekend to hopefully recover.

I got progressively worse and do not recall Saturday. I remember waking up Sunday afternoon and my wife took my temperature and it was 105 and I was having difficulty breathing. At this point I could not even get up to go to the restroom. I don’t even like going to the doctor and I told my wife to call 911 for an ambulance.

I was admitted to the hospital that day Aug 8th. I recall waiting on room availability and getting into my room that night. I went to sleep and do not recall anything from Mon or Tues. I believe I was sleeping. I recall waking up in a procedure room with about 10 people around my bed in surgical gear. They wanted to know if I had a DNR or living will. They said my health had deteriorated rapidly and it was necessary to be intubated. I called my wife and explained as best as I could and we agreed that this was my best option for recovery based on what the doctors told me. I told her I loved her and to be my eyes and ears during this. I signed the authorization and awoke 4 weeks later.

I went through what my wife called withdrawal as they weaned me off of the paralytics and shivered violently and was throwing up frequently. Before I get into the rest of it. My diagnosis became bilateral pneumonia, septic shock, ARDS, my kidneys failed for about a week and I required dialysis temporarily. (Sepsis and Pneumonia, Sepsis and Septic Shock, Sepsis and ARDS, Sepsis and Kidney Failure, Sepsis and Dialysis)

At one point they had a Zoom call with my entire family as they feared I wasn’t going to make it. I was later told they were all speaking to me and I reacted facially as they spoke.

I awoke with ICU delirium not knowing who my wife was and reacting combatively to the hospital staff. I spent a total of 72 days in the hospital and have endured extensive physical therapy that continues today (4 weeks in a coma, 5 ½ weeks on a ventilator/tracheotomy). I suffer from minor cognitive deficiencies (short term memory) and sometimes debilitating joint pain. Doctors are unable to offer much relief from this other than to “give it time”

There is extensive research being done for “Awake in the ICU” where medical practices have been utilizing other methods than sedation/coma method of ventilation that results in better results for time to discharge and recovery with much lower incidences of ICU delirium and post ICU debilitating conditions please see the following Q and A of a Nurse Practitioner from a Salt Lake City Hospital that has been using this method with outstanding results for 30 years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r8i-7qwOWg

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