After long COVID battle, Iowa man decides to wed in hospital
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Jonathan Johnson spent weeks on a ventilator battling COVID-19, then decided to get married — in the hospital.
The 28-year-old man surprised his fiancée with the help of hospital staff and arranged a wedding last month in the intensive care unit of the hospital in Council Bluffs, tying the knot with 28-year-old Mariah Copeland from his bed, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
“I didn’t want any regrets,” Johnson said Tuesday. “After coming off the ventilator, you view a lot of things differently in life.”
Johnson was diagnosed with COVID-19 in September. He quarantined in the couple’s bedroom away from Copeland and their 2-year-old son.
Copeland also tested positive, but it was Johnson whose condition worsened. He landed in Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital and was on a ventilator for more than three weeks.
As soon as Johnson got off the ventilator, he decided the time was right for the wedding.
“You see a lot of sadness, and sometimes the end isn’t always what we wanted,” nurse Jenna Harvey said. “With Jonathan, this gave us hope and it kind of keeps us going. … It’s something they both deserve.”
Family, friends and an officiant were looped in and persuaded Copeland to do her hair and makeup and head up to the hospital for a visit on Oct. 14. When she got to Johnson’s room — where he was no longer in isolation or contagious — he told her that she was there for a wedding.
“I didn’t think that was going to happen so soon,” she said. “I am so happy it did, so I can spend my forever with the man that I love.”
Legal paperwork lists the wedding date as Oct. 22, the day Johnson was released. He is on the mend at home, and still uses oxygen. The couple hope to have another ceremony after he fully recovers.