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Delta dangers: Central Ky. man encourages vaccination after battle with COVID variant

Ed Noon says his line of work also forced him to reflect while he fought the virus.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lying in the hospital at night, Ed Noon would often hear “Code Blue.”

He knew what that could ultimately mean; patients around him were dying.

And it made him wonder if he would be next.

“I kept thinking, ‘I’m not ready to go,’” he said. “‘It’s not my time. And I hope God’s not ready to take me. Because I’m not ready.’”

Noon, of Versailles, says he spent eight days in the hospital over the summer. Now he is continuing to recover after a serious fight with what doctors told him was the delta variant of COVID-19, hoping that the story of his experience will encourage others to get vaccinated.

It is something that Noon wishes he had done sooner.

Noon says in July he found out he was exposed; four days later, he started getting sick. Just three days after that, he knew he needed more help as he began feeling even worse and his blood-oxygen level, which he had been monitoring, continued to drop.

“You’re scared,” he said of his thoughts while driving himself to the hospital. “We’ve seen so much death with COVID. The last thing I wanted was to end up on a ventilator.”

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Noon found himself in the COVID unit at Baptist Health Lexington. He says he was given high-flow or rapid-flow oxygen, and was told to sleep on his belly at night to increase the oxygen to his lungs. That noticeably helped, he said, as doctors and nurses also treated him with medication.

“From the steroids to the antivirals they were giving me daily, they were giving me clot busters every morning for eight mornings in a row to keep from blood clots because that’s one of the major side effects,” he said. “I knew enough [to know I didn’t want to be on a ventilator], and I have seen enough in my career. Not that people don’t survive a vent, but a lot of times it just doesn’t turn out well.”

It is because of that career that Noon says he was even more scared, forcing him to reflect further while battling the virus in the hospital.

WKYT’s Garrett Wymer first interviewed Ed Noon, a funeral director, in early March 2020 at his Lexington business, Care Cremation and Funeral Service, for a story about an increase in cremations. The story was shelved when COVID-19 turned the country upside down, making death something even more familiar to far too many Kentucky families because of the virus.

For someone who works in the business of death, Ed Noon’s brush with it himself came too close for comfort.

“Reality sets in,” he said. “I have been up in those areas myself picking up people who passed away from COVID, and then you find yourself laying there in the same unit.

“It messes with your emotions tremendously. Knowing that you’re laying back there and other people are dying around you with no family or anybody. It’s very scary. Because it goes through your head, you’re wondering: ‘Am I next? Am I going to make it out of here?’”

Noon said it was haunting, and he prayed: “God, I don’t want to die.”

And he thought often of his family.

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Thankfully, Noon says he responded well to remdesivir, an antiviral, and is thankful to the doctors and especially to the nurses who took care of him. He calls them his heroes.

“The nurses were just top notch,” he said. “Unbelievable. Encouraging - which you need in that time. That you’re going to be OK, and things like that. I can’t thank them enough.”

Since then, Noon said he has been getting stronger every day, even as he remains careful while his immune system rebounds.

Where before Noon said he was hesitant to get the shot because of concerns about side effects, now he cannot wait to get the vaccine as soon as doctors say he can. He says that several previously-hesitant family members and friends got vaccinated when he entered the hospital.

“I don’t ever want to have to go through this again,” he said. “I don’t ever want to have to put my family through this again. Or do I know, could I survive this again?”

Noon said he is thankful for the prayers he received, is spiritually humbled and is no longer taking things for granted. And he hopes his story can help encourage others to seek information from your doctor, not Facebook, and to get vaccinated.

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