Nic Brown, who became the first confirmed COVID-19 patient from his eastern Ohio county, nearly lost his life while isolated in a window-lined ICU unit at Cleveland Clinic. For Brown, it was the window to his world.
"I don't know that I've ever seen such selfless people in my life," said Brown, a 38-year-old IT executive, according to CBN News.
"I really saw the love of God through these people. I truly believe faith made the difference and the power of prayer and the people behind me just pouring over me the prayers that they were giving me."
In all, Brown spent 18 days in two hospitals, seven of those on a ventilator. At one point, on full life support, doctors warned Brown’s wife—forced to wait at home because of shelter-in-place orders—he might not survive.
“You really don’t understand the vulnerability of the human body until you face something like this,” Brown said in a Cleveland Clinic patient profile.
“There was a time during this process where the hospital reached out to my wife and had to have the discussion about end-of-life-options. My message is for everyone to take more seriously what the impact of this can have on a person.”
Like coronavirus patients across the country, Brown fought for his life also isolated from his three children. Nurses, limited in their access to their COVID-19 patient, began penning daily goals and notes of encouragement on his ICU window.
“One day someone wrote, 'We will get you home,'" he said.
Before being released from intensive care to continue his recovery in another unit, Brown decided to return the favor. So, with the help of a nurse, he left his own window message, thanking those who spent weeks helping him heal.
"This window has been the most impactful window in my life,” Brown wrote. “On days when I watched you work hard to keep me and others alive, unable to thank you for the time that you poured into me—and although I will probably never get the chance to pour that same love and support into you, I want you to know that I think you all are rock stars.
"I watched some of you have good nights and some bad nights but what was consistent every night was that you care for people.
"Today I leave this ICU a changed person, hopefully for the better, not only because of your medical healing and God's direction and guidance but with the fact of knowing that there are such wonderful people dedicated to the care and concern of others. God bless each of you."
In an interview with the Times-Reporter Brown also attributed his recovery to his faith.
“Prayer was the difference. I truly believe I am a walking miracle. Even talking to the doctors after this whole ordeal, they still don’t know what turned me around,” he told the New Philadelphia, Ohio newspaper, later adding, “I truly believe faith made the difference and the power of prayer and the people behind me just pouring over me the prayers that they were giving me.”
Even with the raging infection attacking his system, Brown said the isolation proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of his health crisis.
“There were 18 days where I had no physical contact with my family, which is probably one of the most difficult things about this virus,” he said. “You’re pretty much left to just healthcare workers. They’re your only human touch and even they really limit how much they’re in your room and spending time with you.”
On Easter morning, Brown told “Fox & Friends” that since his March 27 release he has stayed in contact with one nurse and would love to reciprocate the benevolence of the nurses by taking them to dinner.
“Those nurses treated me like they were my family,” he said. “It was unbelievable, the care and the kindness that they showed me. I really felt God's love through those people and they were amazing. I cannot say that enough.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Gorodenkoff
Lori Arnold is a national award-winning journalist whose experience includes 16 years at a daily community newspaper in San Diego and 16 years as writer-editor for the Christian Examiner. She owns StoryLori Media and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association.