After nearly losing her life to COVID-19, Kris Isford says life has not returned to normal, now months later.
“People have to realize that this virus is serious. It can cause a lot of damage very quickly, ”says the 35-year-old husband and father.
He was admitted to Brandon Hospital in May, where he was placed in a medically induced coma.
Months later, he is still out of work and his life now consists of multiple medical appointments and physical therapy sessions three days a week.
“Walking more than 30 or 40 feet with a walker when I left the hospital was difficult. I was very easily fatigued, ”he said.
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“It is weakness. You feel like everything is heavy, my arms, my legs… they feel heavy. I feel like I’m short of breath, almost gasping for more [air]. “
Kris’s wife, Alyssa, and their 14-month-old son, Jameson, also contracted the virus, with less severe symptoms, but all three continue to see lasting implications from the infection.
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“When the smoke from the wildfires hit the city, I fought with it,” Kris said.
“Jameson struggled with that. That was actually the moment we ended up having to take him to the ER because our lungs have suffered some damage from this. “
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The couple believe there is a stigma associated with contracting COVID-19 and say they believe that is why few people are willing to share post-COVID conditions.
“I think there is the idea that if you have COVID, then you were either being irresponsible or you are kind of a bad person,” says Alyssa.
The couple say they want to share their story in the hopes that people will realize the implications the virus can have, even when you are no longer infectious.
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“You can rationalize in your head, like, ‘Okay, I’m not taking any medication, I’m exercising, I’m healthy,’ but you don’t know you’re going to be okay … there’s no guarantee of that,” says Alyssa.
“He was always like a strong man like an ox. And you look at that and you think if that can do that to a man like that, then it can do it to anyone. “
When Kris returned home from the hospital, he and his wife had to reconfigure their home to make it more accessible.
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“We moved our bed to the living room so there was less room for Chris to walk from the door to the bed and then the bed to the bathroom,” Alyssa said.
They also bought special mobility aids for the shower and toilet so that Kris could more easily use the bathroom.
Kris said it was a matter of only 10 days from when he was first exposed to COVID until he landed in the ICU. “It just runs its course quickly and aggressively. So people have to be very cautious with the severity of this, ”he says.
“What we don’t see is that there are 75 people in our ICUs and the next day there is a greater or lesser (number), like what happened to those people? Some of them did not die, others came off the fan. But what is your life like now? Alyssa says.
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID-19 Symptoms it can last for months after infection.
However, the couple say there is a positive outcome to Kris’s story.
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“We have gotten countless, countless messages from people saying they weren’t planning to get vaccinated or were undecided or hadn’t even considered it. And then when they saw what was happening to us, they went and got vaccinated, ”says Alyssa.
“We feel like we were granted our miracle, you know, like the one you can ask for once in your entire life, we got it. So nothing bad can happen because we spend our miracle. “
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