Humphrey man shares journey battling COVID-19, encourages Arkansans to get vaccinated

Coronavirus

HUMPHREY, Ark. – After a near-death experience battling COVID-19, a Humprey, Arkansas man is now pushing for others to get the vaccine.

From the coach on the field to a father of five, Wes McDermott is active and healthy at 44 years old.

“I’ve never had any underlying issues whatsoever,” McDermott said.

He said COVID-19 wasn’t much of a concern.

“I was one that was dead set against getting the vaccine,” McDermott said.

That is until he caught the virus.

“It almost killed me,” McDermott said.

One week after his positive test, he woke up fighting to breathe.

“Not being able to breathe is one of the scariest things in the world that’s ever happened to me,” McDermott said.

His wife Brandi rushed him to the hospital.

“I have a really good friend who is a nurse in the ER and a doctor is a friend of ours and I asked them both I said, ‘just tell us he is going to be okay, just tell me he’s going to be okay’ and they said ‘we don’t know. I left the hospital not knowing if I’d ever see my husband again,'” Brandi said.

Wes was put on oxygen but wasn’t making any progress.

“There was a point in time that I was really scared. I didn’t think I was going to come home,” McDermott said.

In that moment, he talked to his wife on facetime letting her know that was a possibility.

“He had tears in his eyes and he said, ‘I need you to prepare yourself because I don’t know if I’m coming home,'” Brandi said.

 After six days in the hospital, Wes turned a corner. He was released with several tanks of oxygen.

“Stamina is an issue. Energy levels are still down,” McDermott said.

This experience is giving him a new outlook on the vaccine and this family is hoping to share their story to encourage others to do the same.

“I know the vaccine is not going to keep you from catching it. I know the vaccine is not going to keep you from spreading it, but if it keeps you from gasping for air every second for weeks, it’s worth it,” Brandi said.

Wes still uses oxygen to sleep but is starting to ween himself off. He says he will get the vaccine as soon as he gets the green light.

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