A drive-by parade outside of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center last April was supposed to be Corey Ripe's happy ending. The 47-year-old was headed home after a week on a ventilator battling COVID-19.
Doctors told his fiancé, Jena Parris, he had a 50-50 chance at survival.
Flash forward to this past Saturday, and Parris was hit with a wave of déjà vu when she came home to find Ripe struggling to breathe.
“I was numb a couple of days. I thought there is no way that this is happening a third time, there's just no way,” said Parris.
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Ripe, who beat the odds then, battled a milder case of the virus this January.
He was vaccinated in March.
Still, Saturday night, though he’d shown no prior symptoms, Parris knew it had to be COVID-19 again when she heard the fluid in his lungs.
She rushed him to the ER. And an hour later, Parris got a familiar call.
Ripe was intubated and waiting for an available ICU bed.
Parris said they don’t know of any underlying conditions that would make Ripe more susceptible to the virus, but doctors are looking.
“They're baffled, to be honest,” said Parris.
She said they do believe lung damage from the first go-round and pneumonia are playing a role in the severity this time. She said they also told her it could be worse.
Ripe’s case is one of the less than 2% of vaccinated people who’ve been hospitalized with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
“I’ve had every doctor tell me as bad a shape as he's in, he said if he hadn't had the vaccine, he probably wouldn't be here."
That's providing some comfort for Parris, as is the ability to see Ripe via Facetime.
Still, she said not being able to be with him in person doesn’t get easier.
Parris and her daughter tested negative for the virus each time.