‘I’m a believer now’: Man who battled COVID-19 for 3 months urges vaccinations

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 3:28 AM EDT
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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - An Indiana man who spent three months battling COVID-19 says it’s a miracle he’s alive. He’s now encouraging others to take the virus seriously and get vaccinated.

Five months later, 51-year-old Denny Thompson doesn’t remember his fight with the coronavirus, but he spent three months in Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital with machines keeping his ravaged body going.

He says he still has a “COVID” cough, meaning when he starts coughing, it’s hard to stop, but Thompson says he’s just happy to be alive.

Denny Thompson, 51, spent three months battling COVID-19 in the hospital with machines keeping...
Denny Thompson, 51, spent three months battling COVID-19 in the hospital with machines keeping his ravaged body going.(Source: Kelly Burrow, WTHR via CNN)

“Everybody said there was no way he was going to survive, and if he did, he would never be the same,” said Thompson’s wife, Kelly Burrow, who got COVID-19 at the same time as her husband last February.

Thompson got so sick that, at one point, doctors thought he may need a lung, heart and kidney transplant to have any chance of making it.

“They were also saying he may survive but may be on a ventilator the rest of his life and have to do dialysis the rest of his life,” Burrow said.

Then, in the hours after his family signed a “do not resuscitate” order if his heart stopped, Thompson started to improve.

“The man upstairs definitely, definitely had a hand in this,” Burrow said.

Before the pandemic, Thompson worked out and lifted weights three or four times per week. While fighting the virus, he lost 80 pounds, and now, trying to lift a one-pound weight is a struggle.

He says that last year at this time, he and his and wife were wearing masks but weren’t worried about getting the virus and didn’t believe it could be deadly to them.

“I just thought it was one of those things that might have been blown out of proportion and healthy people don’t get sick, and I proved that wrong,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Thompson got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He is encouraging others to take COVID-19 seriously and get vaccinated.

“If I wouldn’t have got sick, I would probably be like, ‘I don’t know if I need it or not.’ But I did go through it, and it’s as bad as they say it is for certain people,” he said. “I was not a big believer in it. I’m a believer now.”

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