Manlius woman documents husband’s fight with COVID-19, now urging people to get vaccine

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MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Kelli Bartlett sat in a parking lot staring at her phone, trying to be patient as she waited for it to ring. For about week, her husband Evan laid in a hospital bed with pneumonia in both lungs, positive for COVID-19. FaceTime was the only way she could see him.

“I was really concerned that I might not get to bring him home,” Bartlett said.

He was so sick with COVID-19, there was a fear he may be put on a ventilator.

Kelli and Evan discussed the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available and both decided they would make their own choice about getting a shot. Kelli did, but Evan chose not to. He was the only one in their immediate family to choose not to get it.

He’s a football coach, who works out regularly and has a full-time job. Kelli says her husband wanted “those who really needed it” to get the vaccine. He added that he wasn’t sure if he planned on ever getting the shot.

About ten days ago, he started to complain of body aches that rivaled injuries he sustained in a car crash a few years ago. A few days later, he began to cough uncontrollably. That’s when Kelli called 911.

Evan has rushed to the hospital.

Kelli has documented her husband’s journey with COVID-19 on Facebook. There have been hundreds of shares and comments on her posts.

She was not able to be by Evan’s side during his time in the hospital. She was the messenger to the rest of their immediate family regarding his condition. At times, Kelli says she cried for hours. She couldn’t eat or sleep. She just waited by the phone while in her car.

“When someone gets sick with COVID, it doesn’t just impact them. It impacts their whole family. It impacts all the people who love them. This was devastating. I couldn’t function,” she said.

Monday, Evan was able to leave the hospital after five days. He lost around 30 pounds and has permanent scarring on his lungs.

“I am not on some witch hunt for people to get the vaccine,” Kelli said. “I just want people to understand when you make a choice to not get it, and when your entire family is vaccinated and they are saying ‘please’– pleading with you to get the vaccine, it is not because they are trying to control you or take away your rights, or disrespect your views or anything like that. It is because they loved you.”

Kelli Bartlett says at least one person has reached out to her and said based on her updates on Evan, that person chose to finally get the vaccine.

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