“It really doesn’t make you take anything for granted anymore, even the little things,” Leah Blomberg, 35, of Muskego, Wisconsin, said on a Facebook Live hangout on Thursday. “Every moment that I receive with my husband, I cherish him. “
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NBC News spoke with Blomberg and four other people who tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, to find out what it was like to have extreme cases and how they have recovered in recent weeks . Although the number of infections and deaths continues to increase every day, most people improve and some may experience no symptoms.
But for those who have been hospitalized in intensive care units, the experience can be terrifying – if they even remember it.
Blomberg said she was put on ventilator for a total of nine days, leaving her in a medical coma.
“It really is a humiliating experience,” she said of her hospital stay.
She added that she was grateful that she had not known in advance the grim statistics associated with the use of a fan. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined 5,700 patients with coronavirus in 12 hospitals in New York and Long Island found that about 21% of the patients died, but for the 12% considered extremely sick and requiring respirators, the mortality rate was 88%.
Andrew Coffield, 29, of Aurora, Ill., Said he was on a ventilator for seven days during his 13-day hospital stay. He was told that he was unconscious for about five days, and his 2-year-old son was going to FaceTime with him, saying, “Dad, wake up. Dad, wake up.
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But as his condition deteriorated, with his vital signs falling and his fever increasing again, he had a sudden turnaround two days after getting out of the ventilator, he said.
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“I really believe God healed me,” said Coffield, adding, “The doctors and nurses couldn’t explain it. … They kept coming and said, “You are a miracle.” “
Being in the hospital far from his family and getting home without touching them was one of the loneliest moments of his life, he added.
Another survivor, Jess Marchbank, 32, of North Devon, England, could tell.
She said that she wanted to touch her children, ages 2 and 4, even after she returned home from the hospital, but that she couldn’t do it until she was completely virus-free.
“This is the most lonely experience I think I will have,” she said. “You don’t get that touch, that touch, that love and that education that we need to improve mentally and physically. “
But once she was able to hold her family, she said, it was “so much better than Christmas morning.”
All of the survivors say they still feel exhausted and devastated.
Although not in hospital, Dwight Everett, 65, of Ventura County, California, said he decided to donate plasma after fully recovering to help others affected by illness.
As a possible treatment for very sick coronavirus patients, some hospitals are testing the injection of “recovery serum” based on the blood plasma of people who have recovered.
Everett’s plasma goes to people like the wife of Luis Meza, of Santa Maria, California. Meza said his wife was in a Los Angeles hospital after contracting the coronavirus from him.
She remains on a ventilator after 26 days in the hospital, he added.
“I would do anything to save my wife,” said Meza of the plasma treatments. “I’m going to sell everything I have to save my wife. “
He said that she was improving slowly, but that she had to relearn how to move her hands and legs after the virus ravaged her body.
The idea that some people still do not take the coronavirus seriously or follow social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders is heartbreaking for him and the other survivors.
Blomberg added that protesters have the right to demonstrate, but they are putting others at risk.
“Many of the reasons why people protest are so superficial. “I want a haircut. I want to do my nails. ” Really? Blomberg said. “I can understand that small business owners are suffering. But I’m sure that when the medical community has clarified things and said we’re ready to go back and start reopening things, I’m sure our communities will rally around their small businesses and help bring them back. ”