Surviving COVID-19 with the help of a brother and cousin

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It was December of last year and Pedro “Raul” Trejo, 60, of Staten Island, had a severe case of the flu, fourteen days of chills and fever. Trejo, is a husband, father and grandfather as well as a native of Ecuador who served for 29 years with the Ecuadorian Marines. It was only nine months ago and the term “social distancing” hadn’t been part of our vocabulary yet and there had been no testing at the time. In no time, the virus would soon consume this country two to three months later where it would soon be known as “coronavirus” or the novel “COVID-19”.

Many people who thought they got sick in the weeks and months before March 2020 could almost now say that they survived it without knowing that they definitely had it. Pedro was one of those people, but later it was confirmed at Staten Island University Hospital that he had the coronavirus. It is not known how Pedro may have been exposed to COVID-19, possibly at work as a laborer where he moves boxes and shipments as a stock clerk. Pedro is generally in good health except for high blood pressure for which he is taking medication, but physically he has a strong heart.

After his bout with his fever in December, Pedro improved and became symptomless for the Christmas period, January and February. Mars turned into a different story when his symptoms returned, but stronger this time around and on March 24 Pedro was in the worst situation where he had trouble breathing, a tight chest and severe headache and was breathing through a tube. . He was taken to Staten Island University Hospital on April 4 where he saw doctors for bronchitis and a stinging fever, and then was confirmed to have COVID-19. Doctors prescribed antibiotics and a cream he needed for a burning sensation he was experiencing in his rectal area and remained in the hospital until early June.

Taken with Jacqueline, Pedro’s smartphone at Staten Island Teaching Hospital in March

Then there was an insurance situation where Pedro had no money for insurance and he wanted to see the doctor for medication, but his visit was rejected due to lack of insurance. While Pedro had started to recover, he still could not get all the medicine he needed at Staten Island Teaching Hospital, so he was discharged and sent home as the hospital needed a bed for them. sicker patients. On top of all this, Pedro contracted MRSA at Staten Island Teaching Hospital.

« I was scared but this virus really knocks you out», Said Pedro.The cough didn’t stop and the headaches were so intense. They (the doctors) were still learning about it, so there isn’t much they can do except rest.«

It was then that Pedro’s brother Felix walked in and offered his sick brother a bed in his Crown Heights apartment. Pedro is one of four brothers and two sisters in his family. When Felix offered his apartment to Pedro, he agreed and Felix picked up Pedro to take him to his Brooklyn apartment. All Felix wanted to do was make sure he was taken care of.

« They are such big brothers and I remember them as big cousinsSaid Jacqueline Hernandez, a young cousin of Pedro and Felix who resides in Poughkeepsie, New York.They are my favorite cousins ​​and they used to pick me up from school when I was little in Ecaudor. This is what family is for and I love them.«

Caught with Jacqueline’s cellphone, Pedro FaceTime with his cousin

Soon after Pedro moved in Felix started to get sick but luckily not as bad as Pedro. On June 12, after Pedro started to get better again, Felix took Pedro for physical therapy to the Brooklyn Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, then to Coney Island Avenue (now moved to Buffalo Avenue in Crown Heights). After weeks of solid physical therapy, Pedro was sent home on July 14.

Pedro, like so many other COVID-19 survivors, saw his body ravaged by the virus months later, still not 100% themselves. Even in August, Pedro’s balance is still not balanced, he is very lethargic, luckily he has no pain except for the knees and shoulders and he experiences dizziness at night. Although he walks a lot, he comes in and out of depression.

Earlier this month, Pedro had his trachea removed from his throat, another sign of healing. These days, Pedro isn’t working because he is focusing on getting stronger in Felix’s Brooklyn apartment. He returns to his favorite activities in life, such as doing his word search, reading, watching TV, going for walks and trying to live day to day to put the virus behind him once and for all. Although he plans to visit another brother in New Orleans and plans to return to Ecuador, one thing above all is to recover from the coronavirus.

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