Thousands of Hoosiers have died since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020 and we know — they're more than just numbers. If you've lost a loved one to COVID-19 and want to share their story reach out to us at FacesOfCovid@wrtv.com.
INDIANAPOLIS — Charles Fisher, fondly known as Chuck, moved to Indianapolis in 1983 after serving in the Air Force. Fisher was attending IUPUI and started a part-time job with UPS.
After only about eight or nine months living in the area, Fisher was fixed up by one of his friends with Lori, the two attended the same church.
Lori Fisher remembers their first date was to a Valentine’s Dance through church.
“On February 10th was our first date. From that day going forward I don’t think we ever spend a day apart," Lori said. "We both kind of knew we found the one.”
After a short engagement, Lori and Chuck were married. A few years later they had twins, a boy and a girl. Chuck was the life of the party everywhere they went.
“I always say when anybody asks me how I would describe him in a few words I would say he was full of life and lived life to the fullest," Lori said. "He was a guy that, when he walked in the room his smile and his laugh lit up the room."
While the kids were young, Chuck would coach their sports teams and the family would go on trips together. He also worked full-time at UPS. However, Lori said he still found time to take up new hobbies.
“He had so many hobbies over the years, I couldn’t even tell ya," Lori said. "He’s done everything from scuba diving to bee keeping, golf, to fishing. Golf and fishing were his passions he loved both of those. He played softball into his 30s and 40s. We played softball when we were young and married together."
The father of two was healthy and active. He never had any health problems, was not on any prescriptions and never spent any time in the hospital besides the day he was born.
“He had a physical job, he worked out in the yard, he played sports, he was someone you would never ever imagine," Lori said. "Everyone you talk to when they hear his story basically says he would’ve been the last person I would’ve ever thought this would happen to."
In late October 2020, Chuck caught COVID-19. After coming home from work one day, Lori took his temperature and he had a fever. She said he had all the symptoms talked about related to the virus. After testing positive Chuck started to develop problems breathing so Lori took him to the emergency room.
Fisher was eventually transferred to another hospital because there was not an available bed.
“He was at Saxony for about a week. He was on 100% oxygen and his lungs just weren’t getting better,” Lori said.
The difficult decision was made to place Chuck on a ventilator. Before he went under, Lori and her kids video chatted with him.
“That was the last time I talked to him and then they put him on the vent,” Lori said.
Then began the struggle to stay connected to what was happening with her husband.
“I talked to the nurses four or five times a day once he went on the vent and they would do their best to give me information but it was difficult for me to feel like I was connected at all,” Lori said.
After nearly three weeks on a ventilator, Chuck passed away on Dec. 8, 2020. He was just one week away from his 61st birthday.
“The thing that I can’t sleep because of is he was alone. He went through all of that by himself. He didn’t feel a loved one there, He didn’t feel anybody holding his hand. And if anything comes out of this that’s what I want to say… we have to find a way to keep the patient and the family connected,” Lori said. “Because it’s proven that love and feeling a loved one next to you and feeling that connection with their family is part of the healing process and in this whole pandemic, that’s what’s been lost.”
Lori said Chuck was planning to retire this year, they had a lot of plans.
“And he had so much more life to live and so many things to accomplish," Lori said. "COVID only defines the last four weeks of his life he was so much more than that.”
Her husband's work friends have stopped by to check on Lori. She said she also received cards and letters from people on Chuck's route.
“In all of this, I’m seeing all the good he did outside of my life," Lori said. "If I have any kind of consolation or any kind of bright spot in all of this, I know he didn’t just effect the people that were right around him, he effected people all throughout his life.”