“I’m really fortunate. Maybe my dad helped save my life.”

Edgardo Espiritu spent 33 days in the ICU as a COVID-19 patient at South County Hospital. His story is one of gratitude and love for his father, who passed away of the same disease.

Edgar was exposed to COVID-19 by a coworker and soon began experiencing symptoms of coughing and body aches. By the afternoon of July 27, 2020, his entire family tested positive for COVID-19 and reported to the Emergency Department at South County Hospital due to shortness of breath.

“At first I was just going to stay home,” Edgar said. “But the virus got worse and it was difficult to breathe, so we decided to go to the Emergency Room for help.” The family was examined and Edgar’s family members were allowed to return home with follow-up care from their doctor. But Edgar’s oxygen levels were far too low, so he was immediately taken to the ICU.

“For the first two weeks, I didn’t know what was going on.” Edgar said. “It was only by the third week I began regaining consciousness.” Edgar underwent a combination of BiPap ventilation with high-flow oxygen, as well as proning (the patient lies on his stomach to help oxygenate the lungs). Not long after Edgar was hospitalized, his father was also hospitalized at another local hospital.

One of the most challenging parts of COVID-19 was being isolated from friends and family. “I started to get on the low side, you know?” Edgar reflects. Despite losing his voice, Edgar communicated virtually with his mom and two sisters via Facebook instant messenger nearly every day. After several weeks, South County Hospital was able to get permission for Edgar’s sister, who had recovered from COVID-19, to visit him. Sadly, Edgar’s father passed away due to complications from COVID-19. With Edgar still in the ICU, South County Hospital arranged for him to watch his father’s funeral via Zoom. “It was heartbreaking,” Edgar recalls.

Day by day, however, Edgar regained his strength. After receiving convalescent plasma (donated plasma from a person that has recovered from COVID-19), Edgar felt more energetic. “It boosted me up!” Edgar recalls. His mother told Edgar his father said shortly before he passed away, “I’d rather go [to heaven], instead of my son.”

After one month and three days in ICU, Edgar was able to return home. Edgar shares full gratitude to the ICU nurses and the doctors who helped him. “I’m well.” Edgar says of his current health. “Everything is back to normal, thank God. And thanks to my dad. I’m really fortunate. Maybe my dad helped save my life.”

Annual Report 2020

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