A Florida couple is sharing their story after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Like the vast majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the couple said that they were not vaccinated.
Teddy and Rachel Willems said they became ill during a Fourth of July trip to Tennessee. The couple was traveling with their 5-year-old daughter, they were quarantined as a family before both parents needed to be hospitalized.
“We were both in the hospital together on different floors.” Rachel Willems said.
Teddy Willems, who works as an emergency room nurse at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, said several “unknowns” about the vaccines, as well as several people he knew experiencing temporary symptoms after receiving a dosage, prevented the vaccine from becoming a priority for his family.
They said a couple of weeks ago, both found themselves in the hospital, away from their daughter.
“The mental aspect I think is a big thing that people don’t talk about. Like, especially when we, we were apart for a week and we didn’t see our daughter for a week,” Rachel Willems said. “Being in the hospital, you are by yourself, but then you know you can’t see your family at all. You can’t have anybody come visit you. You can’t see your child.”
The couple said they plan to take a vaccine once they are fully recovered if their doctor recommends it. They also encourage others who are hesitant to get a vaccine, to consult with their doctors to see what they recommend.
“We [weren’t] vaccinated before. We are going to talk to our doctors. We are going to go through the route of what they think is best for us,” Rachel Willems said. “I think of course everybody worries about [COVID-19], and we did before, but I don’t think we lived our lives in fear of it, but after we got it, especially seeing what it did to him, it’s just a little different.”
The couple also said the only person part of their vacation group that didn’t get sick was Rachel’s father. They describe him as over the age of 70, diabetic, and the only person in the group who was vaccinated.