In Vermont this Thanksgiving, many paused to reflect on how thankful they are for the health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
One 74-year-old, who was hospitalized in late march at the University of Vermont Medical Center with COVID-19, is especially thankful.
For three and a half excruciating days, Richard Pritsky needed a ventilator to do his breathing for him after one of his lungs collapsed.
Ever since his recovery, he’s been profoundly appreciative for his ICU nurses, doctors and all the other frontline hospital staffers.
"All of the medical staff was just phenomenal," he said. "It’s so impressive to see folks so dedicated to helping other people."
The people of Vermont has spent much of the pandemic showing its gratitude to health care heroes — with lawn signs, restaurant-prepared meals and entertainment. But healthcare workers say that the best way to show appreciation is to proactively protect yourself from the virus.
"We don’t need anything but for people to wear their masks, wash their hands, stay distant and just hold tight," said Beth Starger, of Birchwood Terrace Rehab. "We have to do this now in order for us to have a real thanksgiving next year.
That’s a plea Pritsky echoes. After surviving COVID-19, every day to him is now a day for giving thanks.
"I’m so thankful they got me through it," he said.