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Unvaccinated COVID patient using ‘2nd chance at life’ to persuade others to get inoculated

Adele Drake chose not to get vaccinated for coronavirus; now she considers the shots a gift of life
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:46 PM EDT
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WINTERPORT, Maine (WABI) - For those still hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine, a woman from Winterport has a message for you.

She’s telling it from a hospital bed at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where she’s been battling COVID for close to a month now.

“I’d been getting coughs and I thought- Oh, it’s nothing but I guess I was wrong,” says Adele Drake.

On August 13th, Adele Drake’s 17 year old daughter tested positive for COVID. Four days later, Adele and her husband also tested positive. Bill is fully vaccinated against the virus. Adele is not.

“I had been suffering at home for 9 days thinking- in 10 days I’ll be all better. And then I realized- no, it’s not better.”

On August 25th, Adele’s husband took her to the emergency room.

“When we got there, he put me into a wheelchair,” says Adele. “And I remember he kissed me on the top of my head. And that could have been the last time I ever saw him.”

Adele was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia.

“Then they wheeled me to the room where I still am now,” she says. “And when I got here, I was scared out of my mind.”

Adele recalls one of those first nights, realizing the gravity of her situation.

“I was staring up at this drop ceiling and thinking- I’m going to die staring at this drop ceiling and not the faces of my family and friends around me, telling me goodbye and they loved me. And that was a soul crushing moment for me.”

Adele prided herself on exercising regularly, eating healthy and using homeopathic healing methods whenever possible. But all of that combined was no match for this virus.

“It’s all about the breath,” says Adele. “One night I was here and I asked one of the nurses- so how’s it going tonight and she said, everybody’s breathing. I mean that’s the goal here, just keep people breathing.”

Her husband back at home, clinging to updates all the while knowing what could happen.

“You get thoughts in your dreams before you fall asleep at night- what if I lost my spouse?” recalls Bill.

Adele would spend the next few weeks garnering all of her physical, mental and spiritual strength to conquer coronavirus.

“It was so aggressive,” she says. “it was nothing I could have ever anticipated happening or coming at me like that.”

Adele was always hesitant about vaccines in general, preferring to use alternative approaches to medicine. But now-she’s using her story to plead with those still unvaccinated.

“This is a second chance for life and I’m not going to waste my chance to make a difference in the world to help someone else,” she says. “Even if it’s just one person that hears my message.”

Bill, himself spent four days in the hospital because of COVID. And while he calls it a debilitating experience-

“I think since I had the Moderna, it cut the process shorter,” he says.

As for Adele, she and her daughter plan to get the shots as soon as they’re able to.

“I literally would have lost years with my family, watching my daughter graduate from high school or go to college or get married. All of that could have been wiped out,” she says. “Take the risk of the vaccine to avoid the risk of this acute illness that could end your life in the blink of an eye.”

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Winterport woman hospitalized with COVID for nearly a month, released Sunday afternoon
Winterport woman hospitalized with COVID for nearly a month, released Sunday afternoon(Bill Drake)

And we’re happy to report that Adele is now back home. She was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon.

Adele still has a long recovery at home. She’s looking forward to eventually returning to her job as a high school art teacher at Hampden Academy.

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