The cheers for COVID-19 long haulers getting out of the hospital are a familiar, happy sight after nearly two years in this pandemic. But Friday at Gaylord Specialty Hospital in Wallingford was different.
Glenn Merritt is just 25 years old.
The young man from New Haven, affectionately known as “G," left the hospital hearing cheers from family.
“It’s refreshing. I couldn’t wait to get out. I couldn’t wait to walk out of here,” said Merritt.
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He got sick in March and spent seven long months fighting for his life. Doctors initially didn’t think he’d survive.
“When I woke up from a coma, I couldn’t understand why my body parts wouldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. It was scary not being able to communicate with people,” said Merritt.
COVID-19 damaged his kidneys, changed how he moves and left him on dialysis.
Merritt contracted the virus just before his age group was eligible to be vaccinated. The severity of his illness has prompted a change of heart in some of the vaccine-hesitant in the family and friend circle. His father made an emotional plea outside the hospital as he watched his son’s release.
“I get emotional now. I’m just too happy to see him, that he’s walking. And if I could tell anyone, get vaccinated so you won’t have to go through seven months. I would text his phone every day, hang in there buddy. I can’t wait to see you,” said Glenn Merritt Jr.
Merritt is out of the hospital just in time for birthday cake. He’ll celebrate his 26th birthday next month.