‘Stupidity and arrogance on my part’: Former COVID skeptic reflects on near-death battle with virus-WCCO

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS) -As the delta variant of COVID-19 is increasing nationwide, hospitals in northern Colorado are among those that are at or near capacity in their ICUs. And now, for the first time since he was released from the ICU, one of Larimer County’s sickest patients is sharing his story in hopes of bringing greater awareness of the virus to those who doubted its severity.

(Credit: CBS)

Tom Schneider, a resident of Loveland, Colorado, admitted he was among the biggest skeptics about the severity of COVID-19 and the safety of getting a vaccination. Schneider, 51, said he initially chose to give up the vaccine until further research and development was completed.

“I did not know anyone who has been to the hospital, I did not know anyone who had had side effects from COVID,” Schneider told KCNC-TV’s Dillon Thomas. “I was not pro-wax, I was not anti-wax. I would wait and see which one does it better. ”

But in early August, Schneider began to feel ill, as did his fiancée. He tried to fight his disease with over-the-counter medicine. However, the symptoms continued to worsen. Eventually and reluctantly, he decided to go to the hospital. But when he arrived, the doctors told him he should be hospitalized.

Schneider said he chose to go home for medical attention. He said he was afraid of the decisions the medical staff told him he would have to make if his symptoms developed into a condition where they became incapacitated.

He went home. And the next thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital. “I felt good one day, and 24 hours later I was in the hospital, intubated for four weeks,” Schneider said.

Schneider had fainted in his home. His fiance found him, called 911 and had him transported for treatment in an ambulance at McKee Medical Center in Loveland. “I just crashed, no energy, could not breathe. Dull, ”Schneider explained. “I was not at all prepared to face it.”

(Credit: CBS)

Placed on a ventilator for a month, Schneider said he could not avoid spending some of his waking moments reconsidering his decision not to be vaccinated. He said he thought the virus was genuine, but thought it would be easier to fight if he ever got it. “It’s like a monopoly game. And I think a lot of people play from GO to GET OUT OF JAIL, ”Schneider said. “I did not realize that there were three other sides to this game. Being ventilated, long-term life effects and death. ”

Locked inside an ICU with no ability to see or communicate thoroughly with his loved ones, Schneider could not help but compare his experience in fighting COVID-19 with that of his fiancée. Schneider said his fiance felt sick for less than a week and was able to return to work quickly. Meanwhile, he lost his job and fought for his life in the hospital.

Schneider thought back to his time helping the Army Corps build the overflow hospital on Larimer County Fair grounds just a year before. He said he could not help but think about how he once downplayed the severity of the virus.

“I look back and say, ‘You’re an idiot. You’re an idiot, ”Schneider said.

Thanks to doctors at Banner Health and Columbine Health Systems, Schneider was able to get out of the hospital. He is now being cared for at a rehabilitation facility near his home. He expects to go home next week.

As a Christian, Schneider said he mistakenly believed he could place God’s protection before the virus. Eventually, however, he said he realized that God’s protection came after receiving COVID-19.

“It was stupidity and arrogance on my part. I am a Christian and one of the lessons I learned was that I expected God to show up and keep COVID from me. But God had me in the hospital for treatment, ”Schneider said. “He had me there with the people who had to take care of me.”

(Credit: CBS)

He said he was grateful to both God and the doctors who helped him give him another chance at life. Although Schneider was once skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccines, he said he now plans to be vaccinated when he is healthy enough to do so.

Looking back on his comparison of monopoly and the fight with COVID-19, he hoped sharing his story would encourage others to realize that the “game” is harder to play than they might realize. “Now that I’ve lived it, 75% of the game is harmful. I do not like these odds, ”said Schneider. “You could have this and you could be dead tomorrow.”

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