Several celebrities have come out in the past few months to talk about their personal experiences battling the coronavirus. While some of these people, like Idris Elba and his wife, managed to get through their diagnosis without feeling any symptoms, several others have talked about what it felt like to have the virus, isolate away from close family and have even gone on record with the medications they were prescribed to help them recover. Now HGTV celebrity contractor Eric Eremita, who's known for his time on Brother vs. Brother and Love It or List It, is talking about his scary time fighting the virus.
It was just at the end of April that 51-year-old TV personality Eric Eremita found himself in New York's Staten Island University Hospital, fighting for his life while on a ventilator. But, now that Eremita is finally on the mend, he's ready to talk about his journey back to health after battling the condition. Eremita spoke to People recently, and noted that while he didn't have any preexisting conditions that should have made him especially vulnerable once he contracted the virus, he ended up spending two of his three weeks in the hospital on that ventilator.
Eremita said that his first sign of trouble was a high fever, which turned into him getting dizzy spells and losing the ability to focus and signaled to him that he was really sick and needed to take action. Unfortunately, soon after Eremita got ill, so did his 44-year-old wife, Joanna, and they were forced to isolate on separate floors of their home, while their three children (Mia, 17, Eric Jr., 15, and Evan, 12) all stayed in the basement.
The family called their local coronavirus hotline so that they could get appointments to be tested, but several days went by without their call being returned. Here's how Eremita described what happened next:
They didn't get back to us, and I started getting worse and worse. Then one day my wife came to me and said, ‘You don't look good. Can you breathe? You're turning blue.’ I got to the hospital and, believe it or not, it’s kind of a blur from that moment until I woke up off the ventilator.
According to Eric Eremita, by the time his wife decided to check on him in his part of the house, he was, in fact, having a lot of trouble breathing. Luckily, his wife called an ambulance as soon as she noticed how much difficulty he was having, because getting him on a ventilator quickly eventually saved his life. By the time he'd spent two weeks hooked up to the machine, though, doctors had become worried that they'd have to "figure out something else" to help his condition if he couldn't breathe without it the next day.
Fortunately for Eric Eremita, his hopes, as well as those of his family and the medical professionals who helped to nurse him back to health, came true and he was able to breathe on his own. He was moved to the ICU, and finally became conscious enough to talk to his family via FaceTime. Eremita says he got so much support during his recovery, not only from his family, but also people at HGTV (including Jonathan and Drew Scott whom he worked with on Brother vs. Brother) and his nurses. And, Eremita says that the experience has affected him in some profound ways:
The nurses were amazing. They were rooting for me, they were all my team members and were praying for me. It's truly overwhelming how much love came in from every angle of the earth. They're calling me their miracle. No one else in the hospital that I was in that was on a ventilator walked out alive. I'll be honest with you, it made me very, very humbled, and reminded me to appreciate life...It puts the bigger picture in perspective, and what's important to you in life and what's not. Don't sweat the small stuff, you know? It's not worth it.