Local Businessman Now a True Believer in Power of Vaccines
Brian Su, 55, a Springfield businessman, never quite believed COVID-19 would reach the United States. Once the pandemic took hold here, he questioned the safety of vaccines until the virus nearly took his life and threatened to rob his wife of a husband and his two teenaged daughters of a father.
“I tried to avoid vaccination,” he said. “I thought to myself: ‘I have no idea what’s in the vaccine. It went through the process too fast. What are the side effects? How can they be certain?’ I just didn’t have full confidence in it.”
He changed his mind after contracting COVID-19 in mid-January. He was rushed to the Emergency Department at Memorial Medical Center (MMC) on January 13 and spent more than two weeks in intensive care, fearing the worst.
Brian has limited memory of his time in the intensive care unit (ICU). What he knows for sure is that he was in bad shape. Within a couple of days after admission, he was put on a ventilator. He couldn’t speak because of the ventilator tube. Every time he coughed, the nurses would have to clean the ventilator tube, which was a painful and involved process.
When the nurses asked him if he wanted to FaceTime his family in the evenings, he often refused because he didn’t want to scare them. He was terrified himself. “It was a disaster for me and for my family,” he said.
Upon his release from MMC on January 30, Brian spent several days rehabilitating at Taylorville Memorial Hospital (TMH). When he was discharged, he was finally able to see his wife and daughters. They were shocked he was using a walker and was attached to an oxygen machine. But that didn’t stop the hugs as the family reunited.
Brian encouraged his wife to get vaccinated against COVID-19. When the FDA authorized vaccinations for people 12 and older, his two daughters received the vaccination as well. By that time, Brian himself was able to get vaccinated, having been recovered for longer than the required 90 days.
Today, Brian and his family continue to take precautions about the virus. They have resumed summer travel. The girls are ready to return to school in the fall, and Brian is back to work as a business partner at Sangamon Watch Company. He is grateful for the peace of mind he and his family enjoy because they are vaccinated.
“A lot of people believe ‘This won’t happen to me,’” he said. “A lot of people believe ‘OK, I’m young. It won’t hit me.’ But I have to warn you that this is a very serious illness. If you have it, it is a struggle.”