WAUWATOSA — Kurt Mandli from Caledonia has been in the hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia for almost ten days. He has a wife and two daughters. On Thanksgiving, he'd much rather be with them.
He spoke with TMJ4 News over video chat from his Froedtert hospital bed on Thanksgiving morning.
"I'm thankful that I'm alive," said Mandli, who is on supplemental oxygen.
"All of the people that have been supporting me," he said tearing up.
This Thanksgiving there's no family gathering over a big feast. Instead, Mandli will video chat with his children and wife.
"Every year from now on out, this will always be something that crosses my mind," he said.
Mandli believes he was exposed to COVID-19 at work and soon after starting having issues with his breathing. He also lost his appetite. He's been in the hospital ever since, at one point even in intensive care.
"The uncertainty being in ICU you're thinking, am I ever going to make it out of here?" he said.
The week of Thanksgiving, COVID-19 data from the Wisconsin Department of Health shows about 87 percent of hospital beds and almost eighty-nine percent of intensive care beds in Wisconsin are in use.
Froedtert said as of Nov. 25, there are 167 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Froedtert Hospital Menomonee Falls, and Froedtert Hospital West Bend.
Mandli hopes his hospital stay will come to an end soon.
"Talking with the doctor today, my levels are getting down to a good point, but I don't want to leave the hospital until I can go home, and my wife doesn't have to worry about where I am in the house," he said.
Mandli said he'll eat whatever meal the hospital serves. He said the virus has given him a deeper appreciation for being alive.
"Appreciate every minute you're on earth because you never know when this thing can get you and change your life."