They are survivors of severe cases of the coronavirus , most of them had been hospitalized, some of them hooked up to ventilators for several days and none of them ever wanting to experience the misery, uncertainty and loneliness of the illness ever again.
“It really makes you not take anything for granted anymore, even the small things,” Leah Blomberg, 88, of Muskego, Wisconsin, said Thursday during a Facebook Live hangout . “Every moment I get with my husband, I cherish it.”
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NBC News spoke with Blomberg and four others who tested positive for COVID – , the disease caused by the coronavirus, to find out what it was like to have extreme cases and how they’ve recovered in recent weeks. While the number of infections and deaths continue to grow daily, most people do get better and some may have no symptoms at all .
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 a ventilator for a total of nine days, leaving her in a medically induced coma.
“It really is a humbling experience,” she said of her time in the hospital.
She added that she was grateful she did not know beforehand the grim statistics asso ciated with being on a ventilator. One study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at 5, 760 coronavirus patients at 19 hospitals in New York City and Long Island found that about 26 percent of patients died, but for the percent who were deemed extremely sick and in need of ventilators, the death rate was percent.
Andrew Coffield, 35, of Aurora, Illinois, said he was on a ventilator for seven days during his – day hospitalization. He was told he was unconscious for about five days, and his 2-year-old son would FaceTime with him, saying, “Daddy, wake up. Daddy, wake up.”
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But as his situation deteriorated, with his vitals dropping and his fever spiking again, he had a sudden turnaround two days after coming off the ventilator, he said.
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“I truly believe That God healed me, “Coffield said, adding,” The doctors and the nurses couldn’t explain it. … They just kept coming in and said, ‘You’re a miracle.’ “
Being in the hospital away from his family and then recovering at home without touching them were among the loneliest moments of his life, he added.
Another survivor, Jess Marchbank, , of North Devon, England, could relate.
She said she longed to touch her children, ages 2 and 4, ev en after she returned home from the hospital, but could not until she was completely virus-free.
“It’s the most loneliest experience I think I will ever go through,” she said. “You don’t get that contact, that touch, that love and nurture that we need to mentally get better, as well as physically.”
But once she was able to hold her family , she said, it was “so much better than Christmas morning.”
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