In early March, Mike Manzardo knew he was sick, so he visited his doctor. A chest x-ray revealed he had bronchitis, but after a week of antibiotics, Manzardo wasn’t getting better. A second visit to the doctor’s left him with a diagnosis of pneumonia, but again, medication wasn’t helping. Manzardo even went through a COVID-19 drive-thru test site in Springfield, but he never got his results. Then, Manzardo says he started having trouble breathing. “It was 4 in the afternoon, and my breathing was getting labored,” he says. “I took my oxygen level and called my doctor.” Manzardo’s oxygen level was at 82% and dropping. “They told me to get to the ER, now,” he says. Once at the hospital, it didn’t take long for doctors to realize he had COVID-19. As they prepared to intubate him, they told him to call his wife, Pat. She had just dropped him off, and he had told her not to worry, doctors would likely just keep him overnight for observation.
As Manzardo soaked in the news that he was about to be put into a coma with no guarantee of waking up, Dr. Terrence Coulter (Top Doctors runner-up in Pulmonary Disease for Springfield) walked into the room. “Growing up, we were family friends,” Manzardo says. “Terry walked in with his moon suit, and I looked at him and asked if I was going to be okay.” Manzardo remembers Coulter telling him not to worry. “I gave him a fist bump and told him I trust him, and I’ll see you when I wake up.” Manzardo wouldn’t wake back up for 19 days.