Friday marks two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, almost a million people have died in the United States, and thousands more have been affected by the virus.
"Just two years ago, the doctor told my wife, 'Go ahead and prepare for my funeral', and now I’m here healthy and stronger, taking it day by day," said Patrick Bright, a COVID survivor from Clinton.
Bright's case was so severe he was put on a ventilator for 19 days. He could barely walk. Today, he's making huge strides toward recovery.
During the time he was sick, his wife Pamela was also battling with the virus. She, too, recovered. She said ever since, they have tried to make the most of every moment.
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"I’m always looking at him thinking 'Wow, you really here,'" she said, laughing. "I just can’t believe that we’ve came this far."
With the harrowing experience behind him, Patrick is grateful to be alive.
"It makes me appreciate life more, it makes me appreciate the little things you used to take for granted," he said.
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Two years after contracting the virus, Patrick is still a COVID long hauler –– continuing to deal with side effects from the initial infection.
"Each day he tries to walk a little further," said Pamela. "We set goals and we try to reach those goals together as a team."
It’s a good thing he’s built up all that strength. He’ll need it next year to see one of his daughters graduate college and to walk his other daughter down the aisle.
"It’s almost like a dream come true. The closer that we get to that day, I’m just thankful for it," said Patrick.
Pamela echoed Patrick's excitement and gratitude.
"I’m so excited about planning the wedding, planning the graduation, and having my husband here, excited as well," she said.
In the future, Patrick's goal is to launch a support group for fellow COVID long haulers.