For 23 years, Greg Fischer has been a part of the team at Adventist Health in the Central Valley – and last year, that team saved his life.
On Nov. 16, 2021, Greg went to the Reedley ER after losing consciousness at home the night before. “When I went to the ER, that's when I found out I had COVID,” Greg recalls. He went home with treatment for his symptoms and a plan to rest and recover. Meanwhile, his wife, Yvette, also came down with COVID, as well as their teenage son.
On Nov. 22, Yvette noticed that Greg’s breathing had changed and that he was struggling to respond. “I called 911,” Yvette remembers. “I remember the paramedics coming into our bedroom. They couldn't get the gurney into the hallway that leads to our bedroom, so they had to carry him out.”
“There were so many people in that room ... each person had a task to do, and they did it without any hesitation whatsoever. It was angels at work.”
Yvette didn’t know where Greg was being transported to, and Greg has no memory of being transported to the hospital or of what transpired over the next several hours.
“I called Greg's boss, Larry,” Yvette says. “I asked him, ‘Is there any way you can go wait outside of the ambulance bay at Hanford just to see if they bring Greg in?’”
Shortly after, someone from an unknown number called Yvette on FaceTime.
“They flipped me around and I got to see the entire thing,” Yvette shares. “I got to see them take Greg off of their ambulance gurney and put him on to the hospital gurney, and everything they did for him. It was amazing. I don't know why they did it, and I don't know who did it.”
“There were so many people in that room,” she adds, “and each person had a task to do, and they did it without any hesitation whatsoever. It was angels at work.”
The first thing Greg remembers at the hospital was waking up to discussion of a CT scan and realizing that he was at Adventist Health Hanford. He then remembers being rushed to the ICU. “Once they got me into ICU, I remember the entire room was full,” he says. “It was all hands on deck.”
Greg – who serves as nutritional services director for Adventist Health Central Valley Network – was in the ICU at Adventist Health Hanford for 10 days, a time from which he remembers compassion and words of comfort from people who didn’t realize he was a colleague.
“The first nurse that helped me ... whispered to me and said, ‘Everything's going to be fine,’” he remembers. “I couldn’t talk. All I could do was listen.”
In moments of clarity, Greg’s thoughts were focused on his family. Meanwhile, Greg was in the thoughts and actions of his work team. His director, Larry, continually checked in on him and provided an iPad to Greg so he could better communicate with Yvette. Yvette continued her own frightening battle with COVID at home, their son stepping up to support her while fighting the illness himself, she shares, “not knowing if either one of his parents were going to survive.”
While Yvette had started a network of prayer for Greg’s recovery, staff prayed with Greg throughout his stay. “Everyone that did pray had a hand in me coming back,” he says. “It is nothing other than a miracle in itself.”
Greg went home on Dec. 11. He says his medical crisis and the people who surrounded him continue to change his perspective on life over six months later. As he recalls each memory, his feeling of gratefulness is fresh – particularly those of his own staff who were caring for him and providing him with delicious “double salads” without knowing it was him.
Back at work, Greg is appreciative to his team that kept things running smoothly during his illness and recovery – and he has also returned to tending the expansive garden that produced over 3,000 vegetables to feed homeless community members last year.
“I couldn't be more happy to be back,” Greg says. “It’s just a great time to be alive and to be blessed to still be here."