+
COVID-19, hospital, seattle

Richard Soliz spent 28 days at Harborview Medical Center and nearly died of COVID-19.

Throughout the pandemic, we've seen countless stories of patients in the ICU, terribly sick with COVID-19, still insisting that the virus isn't real. Such stories of denial are frustrating, especially for healthcare workers who are doing their best to save people's lives.

That's why this story of a COVID patient returning to the hospital to thank—and apologize to—the medical staff who helped him offers a ray of hope that not all who are in denial will stay that way.

According to KOMO News, Richard Soliz hadn't known anyone who had gotten sick from the coronavirus. He had also fallen prey to misinformation on social media about the vaccine, so had chosen not to get vaccinated. Then he fell ill in late August, spiked a fever and found it difficult to breathe.

"That's when I really knew I was in a bad situation," Soliz said. "That's when I knew, hey, this is COVID. Man. I contracted the virus."


Soliz told KOMO he was embarrassed when staff at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center asked him if he was vaccinated. Pulmonologist and director of the ICU Dr. James Town told CNN that when Soliz was admitted, about 99 out of 100 COVID-19 patients at Harborview had not been vaccinated

Soliz ended up spending 28 days in the hospital. He was put on a ventilator and a heart monitor in the ICU and nearly didn't make it.

"I am certain that there is truth to this virus, and not being vaccinated leaves you vulnerable to the extent of possibly really taking a person's life," Soliz said. "I personally know that, because I was not vaccinated. I did not act, I wasn't certain, and I nearly lost my life."

Soliz did make it, though. Then he did something that few unvaccinated COVID-19 survivors do. He went back to the hospital to thank the medical team that treated him—and apologize for not getting vaccinated.

"I was literally on my deathbed and hanging from a string, and [doctors and nurses] tended to me as perfect strangers," Soliz told CNN. "I just had to say something."

Soliz thanked Dr. Town and told him he deeply regretted not getting the vaccine.

"No one blames you or judges you," Town responded. "Everyone is just happy that you are willing to share the story, I think. And happy that you're better."

Healthcare workers are heroes. Seriously.

"It's emotional for us to see someone do well," Town told KOMO News. "Particularly when things are so dark."

Other staff members were moved by Soliz's apology and gratitude.

"We do put so much of our own heart into the care and worry," nurse Kimmy Siebens said. "We never really get to see people get that much better. And so it's amazing. It makes it feel like it's definitely all worth it, you know?"

Soliz has a message he wants everyone to hear:

"Please go get vaccinated because this virus is real. Real enough to take someone's life (or) put you in the ICU."

Though a majority of American adults have gotten vaccinated, misinformation about the vaccines has resulted in millions of people choosing to reject the COVID-19 vaccines. Public health experts have tried every which way to convey to the public that the No. 1 thing people can do to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and safely get back to normal is to get vaccinated. Vaccines make viral infection and transmission less likely, and drastically reduce the chances of hospitalization and death. It's unfortunate that it may take more stories like Soliz's to convince some people, but here we are.

Thank you, Richard Soliz, for acknowledging you made a mistake and for serving as a good example of humility and gratitude after your hospitalization.

True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

This Giving Tuesday, Furbo makes it easier than ever to support dogs in need

Every Furbo purchase helps provide additional support for dog shelters & rescues.

Image via Furbo

Furbo is using Giving Tuesday to support dogs in need

Every year, six million lost or abandoned animals end up in shelters or rescues. Thankfully, 76% of those pets are adopted by their forever family. Of course, the dream is to find every stray animal a loving home, but getting there takes time, money, and resources.


If you’re a dog lover, especially with a rescue pup, you understand the importance of supporting animal rescue organizations and shelters. Like you, Furbo Dog Camera wants to ensure all dogs are safe and happy at home. That’s why they founded Furbo For Good, the company’s charitable initiative that supports rescued dogs. And this Giving Tuesday, they’ll be doing more for pets in need than ever before!

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Woman reunites with her family 51 years after being kidnapped

Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.

The family celebrate their reunion following a decades long search

In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”

As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.

As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Dwayne Johnson 'rights a wrong' at the 7-Eleven he used to shoplift from as a kid

The Rock admitted to stealing a Snickers bar every day for almost a year.

Johnson bought every Snickers bar in the store to "right a wrong"

Dwayne Johnson is a celebrity known for his generosity. Sure people know about his one-of-a-kind eyebrow raise an insane gym schedule, but it’s also common knowledge that he regularly makes surprise appearances to those in need. Not to mention his gifts are legendary—from puppies to trucks to houses.

So, it might not seem that out of the ordinary for the wrestler-turned-actor to buy every single Snickers bar at a 7-eleven and give them to customers for free. However, this was more than a good deed—it was an act of redemption.

As the “Black Adam” star shared in a video posted to his Instagram, this was the 7-Eleven he used to shoplift from while growing up in Hawaii.
Keep ReadingShow less