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COVID-19 Reality: A skeptic’s story

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:22 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - November has been a rough month with people fighting over everything from the election to facemasks.

All while our weary health care workers report to duty right here in Michiana at hospitals that are straining to keep up with rising caseloads.

Many viewers say they’re tired of hearing 16 News Now report the coronavirus numbers and dire warnings from health officials. Perhaps you should hear it from a COVID patient, struggling to breathe in the ICU.

16 News Now’s Tricia Sloma happened to view a Facebook Live video, recorded by a South Bend man from his ICU bed in St. Joseph Health System, Mishawaka.

“Hey, what’s up everybody out there. I thought I’d tell you my story here. All right…” the Facebook video begins. Jammie Bosstel had no idea who would see his story and he really didn’t care.

“I just wanted you people see this this is real. This is real. This ain’t no hoax. There’s no politics. This s—t’s real,” Bosstel continued.

In his painfully honest video, this 49-year-old factory worker shares his raw testimony to what COVID-19 can do.

“Little things we take for granted, like going to the bathroom. Sorry to get disgusting,” Bosstel added. “Oxygen level dropping to 65 while you’re trying to go to the bathroom and you need a cold rag, you’re about to pass out and die on the floor.”

This from a man who was considered healthy. He has no pre-existing conditions. At times Bosstel struggles to breathe. Other times, he’s emotional.

“I’ve been lonely. I’ve had breakdowns. I’ve cried,” Bosstel continued. “This is real. This is real. COVID-19 is real. I am your living proof. And I want you all to hear it.”

Bosstel made the video after he had just fought the worst of the virus in the ICU and wanted to tell people to stop fighting.

“I’m tired of seeing all these people; these ungrateful people that are out there right now walking and breathing, and they got all these ideas. ‘You don’t need to wear masks.’ Wear your mask. Don’t be stupid!” said Bosstel. “This can get anybody, and I’m living proof. Look at me. Trust me. You guys know me, you know, I’ve got strong lungs to sing the way I do.”

Bosstel not only works in a factory. He’s a singer, songwriter and high energy performer. His rock band, Praise the Fallen, can really turn up the volume. He’s opened for over 100 bands nationally in his nearly 30 years of rock.

But now, his music is on hold, while he fights his COVID-19 battle.

We connected with Bosstel in a Zoom call from his ICU bed.

“How are you feeling today?” asked Sloma.

“Doing a lot better,” said Bosstel. “My color’s come back in my skin. My strength is coming back. They’ve lowered my oxygen liters to 50. It was 60 liters yesterday. So, I’m almost out of here.”

“I just wanted to ask you, why’d you put that video out?” asked Sloma.

“Maybe was impulsive, I don’t know but I just felt like, like I said I was just tired of people out there complaining about everything,” said Bosstel. “Your life could be worse. You could be here. Things can be worse.”

“Take me back. How do you think you contracted COVID?” asked Sloma.

“I think I got it at work, but there’s really no proof. Because, you know, my wife and I went shopping one day and stuff. We still wore our masks. We wore our masks everywhere. My wife works medical so believe me she’s on me about the masks too,” said Bosstel. “But there were a few people at work that got it. And I’m really blown away that I got it because I take care of myself. I’m not a smoker I barely drink. Yeah, I’m super healthy and it’s still got me.”

“So, how sick were you?” asked Sloma.

“When I got here I had a 101.8 fever, my oxygen was 69,” said Bosstel. “Yeah, that’s like, close to death.”

In his Facebook Live, Bosstel wanted to personally debunk the myths that keep circulating and give credit to the medical team that saved his life.

“Bottom line is, man, you know, maybe it’s crazy I put this video out, but I really wanted to help. I just want to help get your guys’ heads right out there. The s--t’s real man. COVID-19 is real. And it’s not over, either. So, whoever’s making those posts well, it’ll be over when the election it’s over. Really? Because is that why I’m still sitting here? Where is my magic vaccine?” said Bosstel.

“Maybe this is too much for you. Maybe this will get wrote off. But man, people need to know the truth. This ain’t politics man. These doctors saved my life. These nurses saved my life,” said Bosstel in his video.

“It was to let people know that I personally….” Bosstel paused to catch his breathe. “I personally am grateful for all these doctors and nurses here that have brought me back to life. And if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t be here.”

Bosstel spent 22 days in the hospital. Keep in mind, he knew COVID-19 was real, and he took precautions. But he never thought he would get that sick.

He’s home now, on oxygen, facing a long recovery. His video has been viewed thousands of times. You can view the entire video here:

Bosstel appreciates the love and support of his family, friends and fans. If you would like to connect with Bosstel or learn more about his music, here are links to the Praise the Fallen website and Facebook pages.

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