Surviving COVID-19: One Man's Story of Gratitude

Central Florida Health News|June 2020

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Surviving COVID-19: One Man's Story of Gratitude
Auburndale’s Keith Johnson Talks About His Journey and the Healthcare Workers Who Saved His Life

AMID THE CONFUSION, sadness, and fear that COVID-19 has brought, an Auburndale man is calmly and gratefully sharing his story of recovery with others to praise and give thanks to the healthcare workers who fought fiercely for his life.

“They saved my life, and did their duties like the true heroes they are,” says Keith Johnson, 53, a licensed pool contractor. “They saved me from certain death, and did me an incredible service in terms of care and compassion. A true testament to their professions. So many went way above and beyond their job descriptions to show me love, care, and compassion,” he says. “It was an experience that has truly changed my outlook on my fellow man.”

Healthcare workers at BayCare’s Winter Haven Hospital were just incredible, he says. “They would kneel at my bedside and pray for me. I spent many times in tears with many of them. When I was so weak I couldn’t fight anymore — and I am a fighter — they gave me the pushes that I needed. The ICU team saved my life, but there is no doubt in my mind I could not have made it back to this point without that team. This battle broke me physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Johnson’s near-death fight with the virus was dramatically life-changing. “Doctors spent extra time talking to me to help me understand. They would also linger in my room and have spiritual discussions with me,” he says. “My ICU team was so very attentive and patient. Nurses came into my ICU room and sang to me as they worked while I was sedated.”What follows is a question-and-answer exchange between Johnson and Central Florida Health News:

CFHN: Do you remember when you first heard about COVID-19, and what you thought?

Johnson: Initially, when I first heard of it, I did not take it very seriously. I even joked while we were working to make modifications in response to the pandemic.


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June 2020