'I don’t plan on wasting it:' COVID survivor embraces second chance

Steve Sechler
Posted at 3:29 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 19:23:35-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A COVID-19 survivor with long-term complications looks forward to a second chance at life.

It’s been two years since the pandemic changed lives forever. In May 2021, NewsChannel5 visited with Steve Sechler. He was hospitalized with COVID-19, had no previous conditions and was not vaccinated.

"Even the pictures that I saw of myself on the news, sitting on the edge of the bed, I don’t remember any of that. I had no memory of what was happening in the real world, it was all happening in this other reality," Sechler said.

Due to the vivid visions or dreams he had, he's now in therapy.

"Sometimes I just start crying out of nowhere — a grown man crying — because it’s just so hard," Sechler said.

On the bright side, he looks much healthier now.

"I can’t help but notice that there had to be divine intervention. I do not deserve to be alive talking to you right now," Sechler said.

Sechler said his medical team saved his life. He switched from a ventilator to an ECMO machine, which took over his heart and lung function.

"Ya know you’re going to flip a coin, and you call heads, and you land on heads, good, you get COVID — you get it for a few days, you’re going to be fine," Sechler said, "But if you call heads and you land on tails, you’re going to end up on a vent and you may die, or be on ECMO and sometimes wish you were dead, right? So, it’s really just a crapshoot.”

Sechler ended up getting both his COVID-19 vaccinations.

His ECMO specialist, Jamie Jarzembowski, came by to see him after the interview. It helps her to remember there is hope, even if many lives were lost.

“You look so good,” Jarzembowski said. “It’s all worth it.”

Sechler is on disability due to his long-haul COVID issues. He wants to get back to work and make a difference. He's also interested in writing a book one day.

"I think I just took life for granted before, and I kind of just did my day-to-day thing," Sechler said. "And because I was given a blessing from God to have a second chance at life, I don’t plan on wasting it."