Nearly two weeks after being discharged from the intensive-care unit at St. Luke’s hospital in Boise, Hailey nurse Jesse Vanderhoof continues to make daily strides in his recovery from COVID-19. But coming out of a medically induced coma hasn’t been an easy walk in the park, Jesse and his wife, Emily, told CNN anchor Erin Burnett in a Wednesday interview.
“I don’t totally feel like I got run over by a Mack truck anymore, but I still feel the effects of COVID,” Jesse told Burnett.
Those effects have included significant weight loss, muscle wasting and lingering psychological effects like delirium—a severe disturbance in mental abilities, like memory and logic.
“My brain wanted to keep on looping over and over. I kept on asking questions, without realizing I’d [already] asked,” he said. “I woke up on my birthday with 50 texts. … I didn’t understand at all what was happening.”
Jesse said his thoughts have slowly begun to clear, though recollections of working at the COVID-19 testing site outside St. Luke’s Wood River remain hazy. He still isn’t sure whether his delirium came from the sedatives he was given while on a ventilator or the virus itself.
“We’re almost through [the delirium], but it’s been a rough few days of him trying to clear his head,” Emily said.
When Jesse was first discharged, he needed a walker to navigate the house. Emily made a makeshift bed downstairs, slept on the floor next to him and checked on him throughout the night.
“[Recovery] is not as simple as picking someone up from the hospital and driving home, and they’re fine,” she told Burnett.
As Jesse builds strength, he said, he’s looking forward to resuming normal activities—mountain biking, hiking, fishing. He also plans to go back to work at St. Luke’s Wood River.
“If I’ve learned anything in this experience, it’s that I want to help people more than I ever have before,” he said.