Travis Campbell, a 43-year-old father and husband from Bristol, Virginia, has been in the hospital for two weeks now with COVID-19. Campbell has been fighting for his life while posting videos describing his experience on his Facebook page. Both Travis Campbell and his wife Kellie Campbell contracted COVID-19 in late July. ABC News reports that Kellie Campbell had been hospitalized with the virus but has since recovered. Unfortunately, Travis has continued to get worse. Kellie says that the experience has been a nightmare. “He started in a regular room, and then he went to a Covid ICU room, and now he's in the pulmonary ICU.”
Alternating between posting text and videos, Travis Campbell says he hopes his terrible experience, regardless of the outcome, can have the silver lining of making more people aware of how important it is not to wait to get vaccinated. Campbell’s declining health, chronicled by a man who says he made a mistake by putting off getting vaccinated, is very tough to watch.
Three days after testing positive for the virus, Campbell posted that “I have never been this sick in my life!! My whole family has covid, i [sic] truly regret not getting the vaccine. Im [sic] testifying to all my bulletproof friends thats holding out, it's time to protect your family, its not worth getting long term lung damage or death please go get the vaccine. The 2nd wave is coming and is going to be stronger than the first.” He went on to write about how awful he feels when he hears his kids cough and say they are dizzy and sick.
Subsequently, Campbell posted video showing him in various stages and sections of the hospital. “The cough is unbearable. It makes you think you're going to just pass out, lose conscious. You're so dizzy, you know, light-headed and confused.” Later on he posted about his admission to the hospital, saying, “I couldn't make it to the hospital. They admitted me. It's real. It’s kind of a confusion like. Just in a fog.” As the videos progress, it becomes clear that Campbell’s ability to get enough oxygen into his lungs is a profound issue. He says he has developed pneumonia as well, and that the hospital he is in has begun routinely giving him chest X-rays. It is painful to watch. “It’s tough when your oxygen drops, because you can’t breathe,” Campbell says in a video he posted less than a week after being admitted to the hospital. Campbell labors through the videos, taking numerous breaths in between sentences. At one point in the video, he tells the camera that anyone who wants to continue without getting vaccinated should make sure they “get a good doctor, and make sure your affairs are in order.”
On Aug. 4, less than two weeks after being given a COVID-19 diagnosis, Travis Campbell’s video showed that his condition had greatly worsened, with more involved oxygen masks and numerous monitors. “Made it through the night. It was a long one,” he said, telling the audience that he isn’t recording videos to garner sympathy and that he’s not interested in making any political statements. He matter-of-factly points out that he didn’t get the vaccine and it has led him into this terrible situation where “I’m not fighting for my life, I’m fighting for every breath.”
Kelly Campbell told ABC News that she and her husband kept putting off getting the vaccination, and while they had some skepticism about the vaccine they weren’t opposed to it, explaining “We kept saying we’ll get it tomorrow.” When asked about his family’s lack of urgency surrounding getting the vaccine, Travis said part of their delay came from a belief that their previous exposure to a virus that passed through the community, which they believed to have been COVID-19, provided them with a false sense of immunity.
“Last night I came to the realization that the chances of me not being able to give my daughter away at her wedding is greater than walking out. I had to make a phone call to my 14-year-old son, and I had to tell him what I thought my dream was of giving my daughter away at the altar; and I had to ask him his permission, if I didn’t come home, if he would give my daughter away on her day.” He goes on to say he sang the song to his son, the one he hopes will play during that traditional father-daughter dance.
Campbell has not had to be intubated, and his fight continues as of the publishing of this story. In his most recent video, Travis told his audience to get vaccinated as soon as possible, pleading, “please don’t put your family through this.”