It took a global pandemic to make ventilators a trending topic of discussion, but for thousands of people, they were part of daily life long before COVID-19 and coronavirus entered the common lexicon. Loa Griesbach started using one 18 years ago because swelling on her brainstem after a C5-6 injury impaired her breathing. Chris Tango’s vent life also began 18 years ago after an uncommon non-traumatic demyelinating event at the base of his brain. Jesse Collens joined the club 11 years ago when a botched front flip left him with a fractured cervical vertebra. Unlike the common images on the news of sickly people confined to hospitals or nursing homes, all three of these vent users have figured out how to get out and about and enjoy their lives, and while COVID-19 has slowed their roll, they are looking to getting back to making the most out of life with a vent.

Owning the Vent Life