'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her husband recounted the battle with coronavirus that landed him in the hospital on oxygen — and forced her to stay away while he battled the illness.
"I'm on my own, and I've got to just keep calling and understand that the people in the hospital are doing the best they can," Kobuchar told "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday in an interview from her Minnesota home with her now-recovered law professor husband, John Bessler, at her side.
"It's one of the hardest, hardest things, and I can't even imagine those families where they hear the opposite news, you know, after he's there for five days and it turns for the best. There are people where it turns for the worse, and they're on ventilators, or they don't make it, and it's a heartbreaking thing, and it's why we have to invest in testing and do everything to make up for the mistakes that were made at the beginning, where a country was not prepared for this," Klobuchar told correspondent Stephanie Gosk.
Bessler said he started feeling sick on the morning of March 12.
"I taught three classes the day before and felt great, and it just suddenly hit me and I had a fever, and that fever just lasted for days and days," Bessler said. "I'm 52, very healthy, and it just hit me."
Klobuchar was in Washington to work on the coronavirus stimulus package and stayed in a different location while Bessler, who teaches at the University of Baltimore, quarantined himself.
The senator said she phoned him every few hours to monitor his temperature, and he wound up driving himself to the emergency room after he threw up blood.
That "was pretty much a sign that it was really bad," Klobuchar said.
Bessler called ahead and said "they actually brought me in through a door in the kind of a garage area, so I wouldn't have to be in the main waiting area."
X-rays showed he had pneumonia, a serious complication of the virus, and tests showed he had low oxygen.
Klobuchar said it took six days to get her husband's coronavirus test back, and she was in the dark while he was in the hospital and she was waiting to vote on the $2 trillion stimulus bill.
"I keep telling my colleagues this is really serious," the former presidential candidate said, adding, "When this happens in your family or to your friends, it's like nothing else."
The senator did not get tested herself. Klobuchar said in a statement after Bessler was released from the hospital that she and her husband had been in “different places for the last two weeks” and it was “outside the 14-day period for getting sick.”
Bessler urged viewers to follow the government guidelines. "People really do need to pay attention to this, and it can happen to anybody," he said.
Watch an NBC News special report, “Coronavirus Pandemic,” tonight at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT on NBC, MSNBC and NBC News NOW.