TIFFIN, Ohio — Steve Rogier put more than 11,000 miles on his new car in a matter of weeks driving from Tiffin to Columbus to visit his wife Vanessa Rogier, who was hospitalized with COVID-19.
The Tiffin couple is grateful to be alive, after both battled the virus for months.
"My lungs were failing and they needed to put me on a ventilator," Vanessa said. "It was the scariest day of my life because I don't know what's going to happen."
While both Steve and Vanessa were hospitalized because of the disease, Vanessa suffered much more serious complications because of underlying kidney issues. Both contracted the virus back in early spring 2021, just weeks before they were scheduled to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
Steve was eventually released from the hospital, but Vanessa was not getting better. After being put on a ventilator and almost dying, she was airlifted to Columbus for treatment. She began her slow process to recovery, and eventually went through therapy for several weeks.
"Not everybody or probably a bigger portion of people who get to that degree of illness with COVID are recovering, so she was fortunate I guess for a couple of reasons," said Dr. Bryan Whitson, an Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center professor of surgery and one of the many doctors who helped Vanessa recover.
Following her release from the hospital the couple immediately looked into the option of getting vaccinated. Both received their shots a few weeks ago.
"You know what we went through is so devastating, you know the whole process," Steve said. "And so we both recommend getting vaccinated because it may not stop the virus completely, but it's going to make it better."
Upon being released from the hospital, Vanessa also restarted the process of becoming a United States citizen. She was supposed to become a citizen back in April, but was in the hospital at the time.
Vanessa had to re-take a few tests but ended up completing the process and getting her vaccine in the same month.
"I had to re-schedule my test and they had to go over my papers again," Vanessa said. "Once they saw what I had been through, they were a little more understanding, and I finally passed my test and I am a citizen," said Vanessa.
Both Vanessa and Steve said they are incredibly grateful for the doctors who helped their family.