The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas climbed again Saturday, with the DFW Hospital Council reporting 3,562 adult patients and 128 children.
After several days at Texas Health Harris Methodist, Randall Kennedy described the situation as a war zone.
The Fort Worth man said he battled COVID for more than a week when he developed pneumonia and began to gasp for air.
“It’s like trying to breathe with someone sticking a water hose down your throat,” he said.
At the emergency room in downtown Fort Worth, he said it took him about 10 hours to be seen.
“There are people camped out all over the emergency room, people hollering and trying to gasp for air. It's pretty surreal,” Kennedy said.
He said it was another day before he was assigned a room.
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There, he got a firsthand look at the picture local doctors have tried to paint, one seen mostly through video of COVID units shared by hospitals like Parkland and Cook Children's.
“It’s like a constant concert of coughing, not just coughing but every gasp of air, every breath just coughing and coughing and coughing,” Kennedy said.. “All the doctors and nurses running all over the place.”
Kennedy’s not afraid of much.
As a wildlife expert, he’s handled everything from venomous snakes to the search for a missing cobra to 200,000 bees on the attack. But he said none of that compares to what he experienced.
From next door, he heard a woman begging not to die. And at times, he said he wondered if he might.
“When you're gasping for air like that, it's pretty scary. When you're asking the doctor if you're going to be OK and they're not answering you, they don't know what to tell you, you know?" he said.
Now home, Kennedy said he felt confident he’ll survive.
Kennedy said he originally chose not to get the vaccine due to fear of the unknown.
He said his brother, who is vaccinated, is also battling COVID in the hospital. Still, he said he’ll likely get it moving forward to avoid another nightmare like the one he’s faced.
"I don't think I could make it through this again. I really don't,” Kennedy said.