I was off the air on Friday morning due to a family emergency that happened on Thursday evening. We'll just refer to this family member of mine as "my uncle" for privacy's sake.

It was the beginning of last week when my uncle started to feel unwell. He had called me and was complaining of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. Later that day, he texted me and said his nose had started to run.

"Oh, boy". I thought, "he's got the virus". After imploring he go and get a swab, he replied, "no".

Now, my uncle is one of those generational types where he is gonna "ride it out" and "give it a few days". He is also one who is, shall we say, skeptical of the medical field.

Reminding him that my best friend's father, (who is the same age), is in the ICU with COVID-19 and pneumonia at Beverly Hospital, my uncle still balked at the idea of seeking medical attention.

The next day we spoke and he said was feeling "slightly" better. That lasted a day.

Around 3 p.m. on Thursday I receive a phone call from my uncle asking me to get his mail because "he was sick as a dog and felt like someone was stepping on his chest". He also told me he had "never felt so fatigued in his life" and "couldn't even walk into the next room".

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At this point, I'm still presuming he has COVID; nonetheless, I NEED to intervene and get my uncle help, IMMEDIATELY.

I hop in the car and drive to his house. I bang on his door. He sounds labored as he yells "open the door!"

I enter the house masked up, he is upstairs just out of the shower. I say to him, "I'm sorry, I'm sending an ambulance. I'm calling 911. The chest is nothing to be messed around with."

He replies, "No, wait one minute, I want to talk to you first."

"Absolutely not", I said, "you're going to the hospital, sorry."

As I waited in his driveway for the ambulance to arrive, I realized how close I was to NOT calling 911 because he was so reluctant to get help.

I mean, sometimes when someone doubles down and insists on "waiting another day", that emotion can rub off on you and make you second guess your own gut feeling no matter how strong it is.

County Ambulance arrives and assesses the situation. My uncle is having a heart attack and needs to be transported to Baystate Medical Center.

The ambulance takes off, lights and sirens, and I'm standing in his driveway crying.

The doctor phones me the next day and says "he needs quadruple bypass surgery right away, his heart is extremely sick". "He would have died within a day if you hadn't called 911."

Would. Have. Died.

Let that sink in.

It's sounds cliche, but, ALWAYS trust your gut. The ambulance can always turn around and go home.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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