TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - A Tuscarawas County family has a message for people considering holding large-scale events during the pandemic.
“When he got in the car, he’s like, ‘We made it.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, we did,’” Susan Reidenbach said of her conversation with her husband when he finally came home after surviving COVID-19.
Reidenbach’s 52-year-old husband spent nine weeks in the hospital and 21 days on a ventilator. The same weekend, her mother was put on a ventilator. She believes they caught the virus thanks to a bridal shower.
“My husband, he said the ICU workers that he could only see their eyes because they were always masked and gowned up, but he said they saved his life and he’ll never know what they looked like,” Reidenbach said.
This all started at the beginning of July. Reidenbach had attended a bridal shower for a close family member.
“More and more people were testing positive,” she said. “Some having symptoms some not. Then as that week went on my husband’s fever and cough just worsened and we ended up on July 10th taking him to the ER.”
Her husband had to be airlifted to Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights. The same weekend, her mom also had to be put on a ventilator. She says there were 28 people at the bridal shower, and 15 tested positive for COVID-19. Reidenbach says she and her family had been following the social distancing guidelines closely and wearing masks throughout the pandemic, up until that special event.
“We let our guard down, we really did just because we had planned on having the wedding in July, we were gonna social distance at the reception so we also thought having the shower - we should be fine,” she said.
She says her husband, a veteran teacher and football coach in Stark County, had never been in the hospital for anything before and had no preexisting health conditions. She says there was a point where she thought her husband might not make it.
Her 78-year-old mother was also recently taken off the ventilator and came home from the hospital. She says doctors called her recovery a miracle. She thinks people should think twice before holding large gatherings.
“It is scary,” she said. “I would definitely recommend following the guidelines and beyond. When I see people having birthday parties and other showers - sometimes I cringe I watch people do it and it’s scary.”
The family members did decide to postpone that wedding reception until next summer after what happened. Reidenbach says her mother and husband still have a long road to recovery ahead of them, but they are both getting stronger every day.