ST. ALBANS/BANGOR – Most days, the town manager in St. Albans can be found at the town office. But not too long ago, he was fighting for his life after getting diagnosed with COVID-19.
“I’m just lucky to be here,” said Richard Fisher, the town manager in St. Albans, while sitting in his office Friday morning.
Fisher said he took coronavirus seriously from the start. That’s why on December 17, when he got the news he had tested positive, he was surprised.
“No, I didn’t expect that I would get it,” Fisher said. “But when I got it, I didn’t expect that I would live through it.”
Fisher had been battling pneumonia, and had other underlying health conditions. He says he tried to fight the virus on his own at home.
“I felt like it was me against COVID,” Fisher said.
On December 20, he was admitted to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
“15 days out of 25 days I was in the hospital. Four days in the ICU, and that really was the experience, because I was sliding down as COVID was taking over my lungs,” said Fisher. “You have to fight back.”
Fisher says he did breathing exercises, slept in different positions, and followed the nurses’ instructions to a T.
“I was a warrior and I was fighting my enemy. It was life or death. People were dying in the rooms next to me,” said Fisher. “It’s hard to know that that’s happening, that you’re hearing the ‘code blue’ and you know that these people are not making it.”
As he battled for his life, he watched as others lost theirs.
“I never gave up my hope. I had some times when I was praying, some times when I was crying, I had some times when people were helping boost me,” Fisher said.
Eventually, Fisher made his way out of the ICU.
“Things are looking good here, I feel better,” Fisher said in a video he streamed from his hospital bed on Facebook Live.
He was then discharged from the hospital, and returned home to his wife.
He says he’s thankful for the staff at Northern Light EMMC, and grateful for the support from his community as he and his wife battled the illness.
“I owe my life to them, to the prayers of so many people, and the will to survive,” Fisher said.
Now, he’s back at work and on a mission to tell his story, warning people to follow the COVID-19 prevention guidelines like wearing a mask and keeping their distance.
“You don’t want to be there. You don’t want to be in the ICU with this,” Fisher said. “Worst thing I’ve ever experienced.”