“It’s not a joke’: Gaston County couple shares story of husband’s COVID-19 recovery

“It’s not a joke’: Gaston County couple shares story of husband’s COVID-19 recovery

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Richard Wright spent a week in intensive care due to COVID-19 and still feels lingering effects. He and his wife, Ellen, are sharing their story hoping to help save lives.

184 people in Gaston County have died because of the virus.

Richard and Ellen want people to know how close it came to being 185.

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“He was so close to death his doctor said he could not believe he got out of there alive,” Ellen said.

The couple said everyone needs to understand what they went through, especially those who still believe COVID isn’t real.

“COVID is very real. It’s not a joke,” Richard said.

Richard works as an anesthesiologist at Atrium Health in Charlotte and became a patient there being treated for COVID and pneumonia.

“He kept replaying that like, ‘Oh my God. Now I’m in their shoes,’” Ellen said.

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Richard said he was healthy and the virus knocked him off his feet. He spent 6 days in intensive care and his symptoms seemingly got worse every day. He was on the maximum dose of oxygen and COVID blocking cocktail of medication.

“Fighting for your life. It’s nothing I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” he said.

His condition suddenly changed just as his doctor was considering putting him on a ventilator.

“Really we feel like it’s a miracle,” Ellen said.

Richard walked out of the hospital in early Sept., but he is still dealing with side effects.

“I still have tightness and pain in my lungs,” he said.

The couple said they are sharing their story through Gaston County’s social media campaign to get people to follow the science.

“I just wish that we would all take this more seriously,” Richard said.

The family said the recovery numbers don’t tell you that people deal with the side effects well after they have recovered.

He still hasn’t been cleared to return to work.

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