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COVID-19 Related

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The Cost of Surviving the ICU

Ian R. Williams

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Newspaper Article, Testimonial

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General Public

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We tend to make sense of sickness by ascribing levels to it, like medals in Olympic boxing: There’s featherweight “I’m under the weather,” a welterweight “ghastly ill.” And then there’s the super heavyweight, an opponent that actually scares you. Few people have to face off with this kind of illness. I have. Which may be why, as I scan through the daily news about the coronavirus, I tend to skip the stats on how many have died, the ventilators we don’t have, the politics, the quarantines, the jobs lost, even the bread-baking. Instead, I find myself drifting into the minds of those souls strapped to gurneys in the hallway, encased in a macramé of tubes and wires, fighting for each breath. These are the ones facing the super heavyweight. Some of them will die. But the ones I think about are the ones who will survive. Because I’ve been there. I know that getting off the ventilator won’t be the end of the story. And I know that not being sick doesn’t mean you’re well.

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