COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – For Kodie Edler, doing laundry, dishes, and other chores are steppingstones towards bigger goals. The everyday tasks might not seem like much but to him they mean a lot.
Over the summer he spent more than two months in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) after getting COVID-19. “We’re celebrating the little wins. Seven or eight weeks ago I couldn’t even do a sit to stand,” said Edler.
The 28-year-old was with his wife on the way back from a family trip when he came down with a fever. Turns out he had COVID-19 and was hospitalized within days. Days later he was on ventilator. Then he was moved from his local hospital near his home in Findlay to the ICU at the OSUWMC.
“My first thing I thought when I saw him is like oh my gosh is this the start of something new with delta and it was,” said Dr. Veena Satyapriya, Medical Director of the ECMO Program at the OSUWMC.
Dr. Satyapriya was one of Edler’s doctors. She says when delta started to surge over the summer she started seeing more young patients with no underlying conditions getting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill. That was the case with Edler.
She mentioned Edler’s situation at a city press conference in August urging vaccinations. ECMO is a device that takes blood out of a person, oxygenates it, then puts it back in. It’s extremely invasive and comes with risks but a step taken when other options do not work, according to Dr. Satyapriya.
Edler would spend about two months on ECMO in a medically induced coma. Eventually he got a double lung transplant and left the hospital after almost 90 days. Back when he got COVID-19, he was not vaccinated.
“I don’t have a better way to put it, I don’t have a more eloquent way to put it, it’s just don’t be like me,” he said. He says he was not against getting the vaccine, he just had not prioritized getting the shot, putting work and other tasks first.
It’s a decision he wishes he’d handled differently. While he knows most cases do not get as bad as his, he does not want any other people to experience what he has.
“One of the ways that I can describe it is you have a lock on every window and every door of your house. In my opinion without the vaccine, you’re leaving the back door without a lock all the time. Why not add that lock in.”
Edler got out of the hospital on October 8th. He’s since been back to the ICU floor he was on to do a ‘victory lap.’ He saw many of the medical professionals who cared for him. Some of them he remembered, some he did not due to being in the medically induced coma.
They all remembered him and were so happy to see him. He also gave encouragement to another patient who was in a similar situation to the one he dealt with, recovering from a double lung transplant after COVID-19 led to his lungs being severely damaged.