A Coeur d’Alene man’s mom and sister were both hospitalized with COVID. Only his mom will make it out

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – In mid-August, Daryl Rise was driving a truck in California when he got a call saying his mom was in the hospital.

He said his mom went to Kootenai Health’s emergency room on Aug. 10. She’d been sick for about a week and she had trouble breathing.

Rise said she started to show signs of COVID pneumonia. The doctors intubated her and then put her in a medically induced coma.

A little while after, Rise’s older sister, Natalie, felt sick and went to Kootenai Health’s emergency room. She was showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“I was in shock. I didn’t know what’s going to happen or what was going to happen with them and who was going to take care of the children,” Rise said.

On August 22, Natalie passed away while his mom was still in a coma.

“She passed away right down the hall,” Rise said.

Natalie was one of the 72 people who passed away from COVID-19 in the last month in North Idaho. She left behind two children with Rise.

Since their mom was in a coma when Natalie died, Rise said nurses at Kootenai Health helped wake her up to tell her.

“Mom didn’t even know that Natalie was in the hospital, and Natalie had written a letter the night before, to mom hoping she’d be able to go down in the critical care COVID unit to be able to see her, but that never happened,” Rise said.

Both Natalie and Rise’s mom were not vaccinated.

Even while in the hospital, Rise said Natalie told him to not get vaccinated. Then, she died. After that day, Rise said he talked with doctors and then got vaccinated.

“They thought that they –  this wouldn’t happen to them. That they were protected by masks and hand sanitation. It doesn’t protect you like the vaccine would,” Rise said.

Rise said he waited so long to get vaccinated because he caught COVID-19 last year. He didn’t think he needed the shot and was afraid of what would come if he did from the things he saw on social media.

Rise believes that misinformation is also what killed his sister, even though she was a nurse.

“I think things would’ve turned out differently with Natalie and mom had they been vaccinated,” he said.

Rise says he’s now urging people to listen to doctors.

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“We’re hearing from all these doctors and professionals who have all this education and they’re basically begging us to get the vaccination. The people that are telling us not to, they’re not as educated as these doctors, and they’re following social media. It doesn’t matter if we’re a donkey or an elephant. It is a personal choice, but the numbers don’t lie,” he said.

A majority of people in Kootenai Health or hospitals across the nation are unvaccinated.

According to Kootenai Health, Between August 25 and September 8, it cared for 212 patients with COVID-19. 181 of those patients are not vaccinated. Four of them were partially vaccinated, meaning they only got one of two dose shots from either Moderna or Pfizer. 27 of those hospitalized during that time period were fully vaccinated, and a spokesperson noted that 80 percent of the vaccinated had at least one underlying health condition.

Rise says mom will be back home on Saturday, and he said she is still on the fence about the vaccine but is “looking toward it.”

Rise says the children his sister left behind are very resilient.

“They’re looking at the positive side of things. They do honestly believe Natalie is in heaven and got to have dinner with Jesus, and she’s up there with our grandpa and looking over us all the time,” he added.

Anyone looking to lend the family a hand can find their GoFundMe here.

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