Harrison Hot Springs country artist Todd Richard is on the road to recovery after a particularly severe bout with COVID-19. (Photo/Jenna Hauck)

Harrison Hot Springs country artist Todd Richard is on the road to recovery after a particularly severe bout with COVID-19. (Photo/Jenna Hauck)

Harrison country artist Todd Richard battles COVID pneumonia

Richard ‘overwhelmed’ by well wishes, offers to help

COVID-19 hit Harrison Hot Springs country artist Todd Richard hard and fast.

Richard is on the mend from a particularly difficult battle with COVID-19.

After coming home from his work as a maintenance plumber with School District 78 in mid-January, he felt woozy, dizzy and had a headache. Four days later, he was rushed to Fraser Canyon Hospital in Hope.

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“I lost all energy and could hardly walk,” Richard recalled. “They did an X-ray that showed nothing, took a COVID test and sent me home, saying if things got worse to come back.”

Five days later, Richard’s wife Sylvia rushed him back to the hospital, this time in Chilliwack, all while battling sickness herself. He was experiencing heaviness in his chest and strained breathing.

“I honestly thought I was dying,” he said.

Richard is fully vaccinated.

Another X-ray of the lungs showed nothing, but the blood work told a different story. Richard was sent for a CT scan, where doctors discovered he had COVID pneumonia.

“I broke down in tears,” Richard remembered. “I was so thankful thinking now they would admit me and give me something for this thing that was sucking the life out of me.”

Unfortunately for Richard, this wasn’t the case. He was informed there was no treatment for COVID pneumonia and that they were sending him home.

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“All he could do was wish me luck,” he said. “I could not believe my ears as I pleaded with the doctor as I have a bad history of regular pneumonia in my childhood and I’ve always needed antibiotics to get it under control. (Sylvia) literally screamed in tears as she had never seen me in such bad shape and they could not help.”

On Jan. 30, Todd and Sylvia took to social media just after their 22nd wedding anniversary, explaining the situation and looking for advice on how to treat his condition.

“(Sylvia’s) hope was maybe someone out there with medical contacts could help,” Richard said. “So many folks reached out with nice messages, prayers, blessings and offers of help and support. It is truly overwhelming and has been so helpful.”

Richard particularly highlighted a close friend, Lisa Reid of Chilliwack, who arrived with fresh-baked bread and a huge pot of homemade chicken soup the next day.

“It was the first thing I could eat after not being able to really eat for over two weeks,” Richard said.

Since then, Richard said he’s gradually been feeling better and has his appetite back, though his energy levels and lung function have a long way to go yet.

“Anyone that thinks COVID is just a cold is dead wrong,” Richard added. “It is much more than a cold, and depending on your immune system, it is very dangerous.”

Richard thanked the friends, family and “Frands” for all their well wishes.

“I’d also like to say thank you to all the incredible folks working so tirelessly on the front lines in healthcare,” he said. “Each time I was at the hospital, they are right there, face-to-face with the sickest and doing their job.”

Richard is one of several area artists scheduled for the Hell or High Water Fundraiser concert coming up in March in Abbotsford. He’s hoping to submit a pre-recorded performance by concert time.

“It’s a cause near and dear to my heart to help support folks affected by the floods and fires,” he added.

adam.louis@ ahobserver.com

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