By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Bob DiCicco, a Westwood resident, knows the danger of COVID-19 and the damage it can inflict personally.
At the start of 2020, Bob was going about his life as usual. As a singer and actor, he has a creative mind and a love of audiences. He maintained a day job as an independent courier along with a regular schedule of singing and acting gigs, where he impressed audiences with renditions of Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra classics.
DiCicco’s life has changed drastically from what it was just a few months ago, all as a result of the coronavirus.
In early April, DiCicco became one of the millions of Americans to catch COVID-19. During a conversation with DiCicco, his girlfriend realized something was not right. He wasn’t speaking coherently and she knew he needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. She alerted his neighbor, Cindy, to call him an ambulance. After checking on him, Cindy agreed that he needed medical attention. He was taken to Beth Israel, where it was confirmed that he had COVID-19. DiCicco was hospitalized for 43 days, and on a ventilator for 30 days as his body recovered from the virus. By the end of it, the disease had ravaged DiCicco’s body.
DiCicco’s journey was far from over, though. Like many, DiCicco had lasting side effects due to the virus. Things he could do without any aid prior to the virus were now nearly impossible. He spent 103 days in rehab following his release from the hospital. “I was like a jellyfish when I first got there. I couldn’t do a thing. It was just horrible,” explained DiCicco. He needed multiple people to help him if he wanted to do something as simple as using a restroom. During treatment, he went through a regimen of physical therapy and other exercises to build up his physical strength. On September 14, over three months after he first arrived, DiCicco was released from rehab to continue treating the long-term effects of COVID-19 in the comfort of his own home.
The physical side-effects of the virus have left their mark on DiCicco; he leads a much more sedentary lifestyle than he once did. “I hardly get out much. I don’t do nearly as much as I used to,” said DiCicco. He now has neuropathy in his feet and motor function problems with his hand. Though he can drive, he doesn’t do it nearly as much as he once did. “I’ve lost a lot of gigs as a result of this,” DiCicco noted.
DiCicco’s life is incredibly different from the one he was living at the start of 2020. Rather than singing at different venues, DiCicco sings to himself, prepping for the day for when he can return to the stage. Like many victims of COVID-19, he has a long way to go before he is in tip-top shape. But with a vibrant spirit like his, there’s no doubt that he will get there.