After being hospitalized for 28 days with Covid-19, a man returned to the Seattle hospital that saved his life – to apologize for not getting vaccinated.
Richard Soliz, a 54-year old graphic artist, developed blood clots on his lungs after contracting the coronavirus. Admitted to Harborview medical center in late August, he spent close to a month on a ventilator and heart monitor, as doctors worried one of his blood clots might transfer to his brain or his heart.
Soliz pulled through, and in October he returned to the hospital to thank the staff for saving his life – and to say sorry.
“I deeply regret, you know, not making the decision to get vaccinated,” Soliz told Dr James Town, a pulmonologist and director of the medical intensive care unit.
“No one blames you or judges you,” Town told Soliz. “Everyone is just happy that you are willing to share the story, I think. And happy that you’re better.”
When Soliz got sick, he assumed it was the flu. Then he started having severe headaches. Shortly after that, he came down with a fever and began experiencing shortness of breath.
“And I realized, ‘Hey, this is not the flu. It’s Covid,” he said.
He was admitted to hospital on 23 August.
Soliz said he had been confused by contradicting information about vaccines on social media, including debunked claims of microchipped vaccines and suspicions of government intentions.
He was not certain, he said, “that there is truth to this virus, and not being vaccinated leaves you vulnerable to the extent of possibly really taking a person’s life. I personally know that, because I was not vaccinated, I did not act, I wasn’t certain, and I nearly lost my life.
“It was just not knowing, and what I did know was confusing and contradictory, so when a person is not totally convinced of something and doesn’t have the proper information to determine a yay or nay, perhaps they’ll do what I did and do nothing.”
When Soliz returned to the hospital in October a nurse, Kimmy Siebens, told him he looked great.
“To see you alive is just amazing,” she said, adding: “We do put so much of our own heart into the care and worry. We never really get to see people get that much better. And so it’s amazing. It makes it feel like it’s definitely all worth it.”
Soliz is now fully vaccinated but has been left with scarred lungs, which cause him to become winded even after slight physical activity. He has difficulty sleeping and struggles with a foggy memory and thoughts.
Doctors have told him he could begin to see improvements in his lungs in six months.