On Community Voices, brought to you by Benton Franklin Health District, we heard from Licensed Practical Nurse, Eli Brackenbury. When he was first offered the COVID-19 vaccine he decided to “wait and see”. When asked about vaccination he would jokingly say that he “didn’t want an appendage growing out of (his) forehead”. 

Eli developed COVID-19 in January of 2021 and at first his symptoms were very mild. He knew about COVID and he did not expect that his own experience would be a serious case. His symptoms of headache, cough and body-aches lingered for weeks and didn’t seem to get worse but they weren’t getting better either. Suddenly that changed when Eli began having fits of coughing and wheezing. At the insistence of his wife and daughter he went to the emergency room.

Once in the emergency room the medical staff found that his blood oxygen level was low, he had infiltrates in his lungs and had gone into diabetic ketoacidosis. The doctor told him “If we don’t get this under control, you aren’t going to make it out of here.” After nearly a week in the hospital Eli was discharged although he was still extremely weak. It took 3 months from his hospital discharge for him to return to a feeling of normalcy and feel that he was recovered.

Eli was vaccinated in March and now shares his story with everyone who wants to listen. He knows the vaccine is a “hot topic”, but he says that, having experienced COVID-19 himself, he would not wish it on anyone. In his words, “If I had gotten the vaccine ahead of time when it was offered, would this have been preventable? I believe so.”

For more information on vaccination and community health resources please visit bfhd.wa.gov or call (509) 460-4200.