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B.C. couple shares story of spending weeks in ICU with COVID-19

The West Kelowna pair hopes their tale inspires others to get vaccinated.

At least they had each other.

A West Kelowna couple is sharing their story in the hope it will encourage others to get vaccinated.

“It’s not fun. Never been so sick in our lives, either of us.”

Sheila and Ken Johnson spent about a month at Kelowna General Hospital, fighting for their lives, after contracting COVID-19. They were treated in intensive care for two weeks. It wasn’t until the first dose of the vaccine started to kick in that their conditions improved.

They are incredibly grateful to the staff who worked tirelessly day in and day out.

“You’d see the same nurse for hours and hours and hours, administering oxygen in various forms trying to get our levels up to where we could survive,” said Ken.

Nearly six months later, Sheila says the couple is still feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19.

“You don’t realize the fatigue is so debilitating. ... You try to exercise, you want to do what they say, because it will be six months now soon since we’ve been out, and you just absolutely can’t.”

She says it’s frustrating because there's so little that doctors know about the long-term effects of COVID, but one thing she does know is vaccines work.

“When I came out of therapy the other day and walked into when they were protesting, I could have just stood there and cried because I thought, people are in there dying, they’re fighting to live.”

Sheila said she will keep encouraging the unvaccinated to get their shots. “I was told by somebody, 'It’s their right, you can’t say anything.' I said, 'If I don’t say anything and one of my friends or family dies, how will I feel about that?'”