Mankato man shares sources of strength in COVID-19 recovery

Mankato man shares sources of strength in COVID-19 recovery

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — It’s what they do. Clara Jeddeloh shoots. Her dad, coach Rick Jeddeloh, rebounds.

In fact, part of their COVID-19 reality is upgrading to a regulation basketball hoop. Replaying recent weeks, the whole family has come a long way.

“On July 23, we decided to go out to eat with a family that has a daughter the same age as ours. We ate. Went out to heat for an hour. A couple days later, that mom called my wife and said ‘I tested positive,’” Jeddeloh said.

By July 28, Rick had symptoms. On July 29, he got a test. On August 4, he’s in the ER.

“The infectious disease specialist from Mayo [Clinic Health System] came in and they did a CT scan on my lungs. I did have difficulties breathing. It wasn’t that bad, but I did have that problem. He came in and the two things I’ll always remember. He said you have a moderate to severe case of COVID pneumonia and the next 24 to 48 hours is really important for you. Up until that point, I thought, like a lot of people, it’s the flu, you’re gonna get through this.”

By this point, his wife had also tested positive. She’s in quarantine.

“That’s the problem with COVID-19, it’s not just the sickness. It’s the isolation that you feel, but it’s about how do you take care of the rest of your family,” Jeddeloh explained. “I think the really had part was how do I take care of your daughter, the most precious thing we have. How do you do that when one’s in the hospital and Kristen is isolating?”

Rick Jeddeloh, a 10-year cancer survivor, received frightening news in July when doctors told him he had COVID-19. Days later he was in the hospital with pneumonia and isolated from his wife and daughter. Jeddeloh has since recovered, but still feels the virus lingering inside him. “I think my situation told me that you can die from COVID and you can also live,” Jeddeloh said. “God looked down on me and said we need you to be home with your wife and daughter and do your work.”
Rick Jeddeloh, a 10-year cancer survivor, received frightening news in July when doctors told him he had COVID-19. Days later he was in the hospital with pneumonia and isolated from his wife and daughter. Jeddeloh has since recovered, but still feels the virus lingering inside him. “I think my situation told me that you can die from COVID and you can also live,” Jeddeloh said. “God looked down on me and said we need you to be home with your wife and daughter and do your work.” (Source: Gage Cureton)

“In the hospital, the nurse would come in in the morning, afternoon and evening. Once in a while, I’d see them a little longer, but that was it for five days, so I think the mental part of COVID is as challenging as anything I’ve ever been through because you ask what got me through it and the wanting and willingness to come back home and see Kirsten and Clara, that was the driving force for me. And honestly, I spent a lot of time and prayed because I was so scared that this was going to be something that I couldn’t handle.”

Rick’s reality: never sleeping at night more than two hours at a time, an experimental drug Remdesivir and antibiotics to target any possible secondary infections, plenty of text messages to return, and the kindness that sustained them.

“The one thing we were totally blown away with is our neighbors, our friends and our family - for 10 straight days - we didn’t' have to worry about breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

The love and support we got. The truth is we needed it, badly.

“If I answered these questions 10 times, I cried 10 times, truly, because that makes me cry - that little girl up there. So to do that without that, it’s a pretty good day.”

Gaining back strength, and the 16 pounds he lost, from that same backyard sanctuary where a matter of weeks ago Rick would emerge from a basement bedroom to talk to his family from a safe distance, he shares today’s renewed gratitude.

“I think my situation told me that you can die from COVID and you can also live.”

The sky was bluer. The grass was greener. Clara’s face was something that I just wished for.

“The things that bothered me two months ago. Whether it was work or something about the house, it’s ok.”

Choose the necessary things: the masks, the social distance, the washing hands, and take care of your family and friends. That will help you get there. It’s not a hoax. I mean, I’m sitting here today because I had doctors, nurses and God blessed me to still be here."

God looked down on me and said we need you to be home with your wife and daughter and do your work."

Rick is also a 10-year cancer survivor. And part of that work that Rick is talking about is planning a local American Cancer Society event set for Saturday, Sept. 19.

The Relay for Life drive-thru is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Unique Specialty & Classics parking lot, located at 2015 Bassett Drive in Mankato.

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