Health Advice

/

Health

This Philly cop had the coronavirus and was on a ventilator for 20 days. Now, he's sharing his story of hope.

Mike Newall, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Health & Fitness

PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Bolds knows what it's like to fight for his life.

He's spent 25 years working narcotics on the Philadelphia police force -- the kind of work that tests even a man of Bolds' imposing size: 6-foot-8, 300 pounds.

But in late March, Bolds was fighting something even his perilous job could not prepare him for: COVID-19. He lay in a bed too small for his frame in the intensive care unit of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The virus ravaging his lungs made every breath feel like a battle.

Bolds, 53, was one of the first Philly cops to fall ill -- and among the very first COVID-19 patients admitted to HUP. He was also one of the first to go on a ventilator, the most serious intervention for COVID-19 patients.

By then, he and his wife, Linda, had read enough to know how dire the situation was. He was looking at a 20% chance of survival.

"I am not the type of guy that scares easily," said Bolds, his once-booming baritone reduced to a whisper in recovery. "But when they said ventilator, I was very, very scared. I just did not want to go on a vent. I knew a vent was bad news."

 

Bolds would lie in an induced coma for 20 days during the first anxious weeks of the pandemic, a machine doing the work his lungs no longer could.

He awoke to learn that the world had stopped when he did, with much of the city shut down in a desperate bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Yet thousands of Philadelphia police officers still report to work each day, patrolling the city during a global pandemic. City officials have declined to say how many have fallen ill.

Bolds' story is both a reflection of the realities of the pandemic and a hopeful glimpse from the front lines, where cops strive to keep at their jobs while doctors and nurses work to keep them healthy.

...continued

swipe to next page
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus