Selma High principal publishes book about COVID-19 experience

SELMA, Calif. (KFSN) -- After a near-death experience with COVID-19, a Central Valley principal is sharing his story about his fight with the virus.

Today, Principal Scott Pickle walks around Selma High School with a smile on his face, but there's always a thought in the back of his mind.

"I honestly thought that I was living out my final days," said Dr. Pickle. "My condition was just spiraling downhill."

In January of 2021, when he was principal at Hanford High, Pickle went to the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. He spent two days on a gurney in a hallway and then was moved to a room when his oxygen levels weren't improving.

"I remember thinking like, 'This is the way it's going to go down,' and I felt just the sinking feeling," he said.

Pickle was put on the antiviral drug Remdesivir, and he recalled his doctor wanting to put him on a ventilator.

"I said, 'No, you're not going to. I'm not going to die with a tube in my throat. Please don't intubate me. Give the medicine a chance," Dr. Pickle shared.

Hours later, Pickle's vitals started improving.

After eight days of worrying if the hospital was the last place he was going to see, Pickle was sent back home to finally be with his family, and finish his recovery.

That's when he realized he needed to tell his story.

"I journaled on my phone. I sent myself emails, and I was journaling all the things that were going on," he said.

The book is called "Upright."

"Every time they put me back, my lungs...it was such pain," Pickle said. "So I sat upright in the hospital."

It's almost 200 pages.

Half of the book is about the mental and physical struggle of being in the hospital, and the other half is a reflection on what he thought, at the time, would be his last days.

Pickle said some of the questions he reflected on included: "Have I done right by people? Are my kids gonna be proud of me?"

Pickle hopes the book leaves people with a sense of hope and compassion.

"Upright" is now available on Amazon.

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