Richard Solis developed many blood clots in his lungs after contracting the coronavirus this summer, and staff at the Seattle hospital where he was receiving treatment told him they were worried that one of them could get into his heart or brain.
A 54-year-old man was on a heart rate monitor, oxygen tank and eventually a ventilator. After being hospitalized in late August, he spent 28 days at Harborview Medical Center, including two days in the intensive care unit. His life, Solis told The Washington Post, “literally hung in the balance.”
When he recovered enough to leave in September, Solise said he couldn’t stop thinking about the staff.
“My God, they saved my life,” said Solise. “Looking back, I felt bad. And I knew with my heart, mind and consciousness that all this could have been avoided. “
Solise returned to Harborview Medical Center late last month with a message to his doctor and others who treated him during his stay: he’s sorry.
“I deeply regret not making the decision to get vaccinated,” he told one of his doctors.
Solise, an artist, ditched the coronavirus vaccine when it became available to all people over the age of 16 earlier this year. According to tracker The Post, at least 223 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Health experts emphasize that vaccines are not only safe, but also protect people from serious illness during a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide.
However, Solise said he was confused by the conflicting information. He said he would see one thing on the news, but that would be refuted by what he saw on social media or heard at the checkout counter at a grocery store.
“You couldn’t go anywhere if someone hadn’t said it,” Solise said.
Skepticism about vaccines is fueled by misinformation spreading online, where social media companies are struggling to detect and eliminate anti-vaccination propaganda. Fox News viewers also received mixed reports about vaccines. Solise recalled having heard several theories about the injections disproved, including that they contained microchips – a statement previously reported by The Post that “it would have been physically impossible as they would not have gone through a needle.”
Therefore, he postponed vaccination. When Solise began to feel unwell in August, he at first dismissed it like the flu. Then the headache started.
“I can’t even explain to you how strong this headache is,” he recalled. “I have never experienced such a headache in my life.”
Fever followed, and then shortness of breath, “and I realized,” Hey, this is not the flu. This is COVID, ”he said. He was admitted to Harborview on 23 August.
While there, Soliz said he was focusing on fighting the virus. But as soon as he did, he said that his thoughts went back to the medical professionals who cared for him and countless others. He said that by refusing to vaccinate, “unnecessarily added fuel to the fire.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose — it was bad; it was something that bothered me a lot, ”he told The Post. “I didn’t know what to do.”
The fight against COVID was like a roller coaster, Soliz said, but the hospital staff treated it with compassion and kindness at every step.
“You can’t take people like that for granted,” he told The Post.
James Towne, a Harborview physician, told CNN that some of the hospital staff were in a bad mood. COVID cases spread “like wildfire” in Washington state this summer when a highly contagious variant of the delta was prevalent, according to KING 5. Solise’s apology and thanks for his help “was a message our staff needed to hear,” Towne said. CNN.
Soliz, who is now fully vaccinated, left scars on his lungs after contracting COVID, which made him easily out of breath. He still has trouble sleeping. He encourages those who are skeptical about the vaccine, like himself, to speak directly with their doctors.
“Don’t be fooled,” he said.