'Everybody loved her': Mount Sterling man encourages vaccination after wife dies of COVID-19

Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 18:13:05-05

MOUNT STERLING, Ky. (LEX 18) — Douglas Craycraft, of Mount Sterling, struggles to breathe every day.

A trip from the microwave to heat up food is enough to make his oxygen level dip.

"That's bad," he said when his oximeter read '83.' "It's supposed to be above 90."

A trip to the mailbox causes it to plummet.

"It's awful," he said.

He is recovering from COVID-19 after being hospitalized in September. He said he got the first dose of the vaccine but it was too late. He already had COVID-19 and tested positive four days later.

"I was thinking why didn't I go ahead and get the shot sooner? That's what I was thinking," Craycraft said while reflecting on his time in the hospital.

His wife of 24 years, Renee, was hospitalized due to COVID-19 around the same time. She was not vaccinated.

"She never met a stranger," he said. "Everybody loved her. They just loved her to death."

Renee was put on a ventilator in a different hospital from Douglas. He helped make medical decisions for her from his own hospital bed.

"They called sometimes three times a night," he said about Renee's medical team. "I took every one of them."

After about three weeks of fighting, he said Renee died on October 15th, 2021.

"When the doctor told me she died, that was it," he said tearfully. "My whole world was turned upside down."

He doesn't want anyone else to experience the immense pain he feels after losing the love of his life, so he's encouraging people to get the vaccine if they can.

"I just don't want to see people wind up like me or my wife," he said.

It's a couple of shots to potentially spare a lifetime of pain.

In Kentucky, 30% of adults are not fully vaccinated.

Those who are interested in getting the shot can visit here.