CHEYENNE – Bob Vines walked to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center emergency room with COVID-19 on July 17.

He is now in physical therapy at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute and Rehabilitation Hospital in Loveland, Colorado, doing three hours of physical therapy a day. At the moment he is learning to walk again with parallel bars and a walking aid.

His doctors believe he will be going home around Thanksgiving, but he thinks this is a conservative estimate and believes he will leave the hospital in September, more than two months after he was admitted.

He was fully vaccinated when he became infected with COVID, but was also taking immunosuppressants, so he doesn’t want to go into how he got sick or from whom he might have got the virus.

“I was at a beer festival. I had many encounters with people. So it’s not even worth finding out how I came up with it, ”he said.

As a former journalist, Vines loves hearing people’s stories. He can’t help it; it’s just rooted in him. While he was at CRMC and was now at Loveland Hospital, he got to know the nurses pretty well.

He learned that all of his nurses had their own reasons for being in the hospital, and none of them had anything to do with money. For example, one woman went to nursing because she was unhappy with her mother’s care in the hospital.

“You have always given me dignity, even in my worst moments,” said Vines.

While he already knew what a thankless job as a nurse could be, it took on a completely different meaning to see the situation up close.

“When you’re stuck in bed for so long, you spend a lot of time looking at the floor and other people’s feet,” he said. “So I started talking to the CNAs there and I know they don’t make a lot of money. I asked if they got their shoes reimbursed and they don’t. “

Vines even noticed a nurse bought a brand new pair of Nikes, but a week later the shoes were already starting to lose their profile.

Fortunately, Vines has good insurance and doesn’t need any financial support. When people asked how they could help him in the hospital, an idea occurred to him.

Earlier this week, he launched a GoFundMe campaign called Shoes for CNAs in an attempt to raise at least $ 5,000 to buy quality shoes for the nurses at CRMC and Northern Colorado Long Term Acute and Rehabilitation Hospital.

By August 28, he had raised $ 2,220, but hopes to continue to raise funds after his goal. That way, he can buy shoes for nurses in healthcare facilities across Wyoming knowing they need the help now more than ever.

“I learned what grace is and what grace is through the CNAs [patient care technicians] assigned to me, ”said Vines. “These guys take 20,000 steps a day and that’s just for work.”

This project allows Vines to both thank and apologize to the nurses who have looked after him over the past six weeks, as admittedly he was not the best patient to begin with.

To be fair, he was also intubated for 22 days and contracted an infection during that time as well.

That experience taught him a number of lessons, he said, some of which Vines hadn’t even fully figured out.

“I definitely have a new appreciation for CNAs and their work,” he said. “They are all here because they want to. If you hate your job, you’d better hide it. I feel obliged to take care of the people who have looked after me. “