After severe COVID-19: The long recovery

John Reed - COVID Long Hauler Story


Working in the original epicenter of the pandemic, New Rochelle’s deputy fire chief at that time, John Reed, couldn’t escape what happened next. Shortly after accompanying his squad on an EMS call, he felt sick. It was COVID-19.

Days later, after hours of vomiting and bleeding internally, he lost consciousness on the floor of his bathroom in his Stormville, NY, residence.


The 57-year-old father and husband spent the next two months in Danbury Hospital. He lost 70 pounds while battling for his life, vented and in a coma for 35 days. On the edge of death in kidney, respiratory and circulatory failure, facing cytokine storms and a 60-day fever, he relied on his faith and love for his family throughout his fight. And, he pulled through. Reed was discharged from the hospital on May 29, 2020. 

The long haul

However, that’s not the end to his survivor story. He’s still recovering in many ways. He is slowly regaining his life back with the help of the Nuvance Health COVID Recovery Program, where he’s been a patient since August 2021. Reed is one of nearly 450 patients undergoing treatment in the program, which has locations in Dutchess County and western Connecticut as well as telehealth visits.  


His COVID recovery physician, Dr. Sharagim Kemp, has used alternative therapies as well as anti-inflammatory medicines. 


“She’s always been right there for me,” he said. “She’s enthusiastic and hopeful for me and is pointing me in the right direction.”


Alternative therapies

Thanks to chiropractic treatments, he can turn his neck and have better range of motion. Beginners’ yoga and weekly massages are improving his strength and endurance. And, acupuncture has reset his body’s systems.


“The bottom line is everyone’s situation is different, and people are going to respond to different approaches,” he said, adding he’s willing to try anything to feel like his pre-pandemic self.


For now, it’s a marathon not a sprint.


“We are at a place no one knows,” Reed said about long COVID. “It’s going to take time. I’m committed. She’s committed.”


John Reed and his son on a zipline course in the trees


To learn more, visit Nuvance Health’s COVID Recovery Program.