LIMA — Danielle Green prayed that COVID-19 wouldn’t claim her husband. Three months later, her prayers have finally been answered: Andrew Green was discharged from Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center Tuesday after spending three months and five days at the hospital fighting a disease that millions of Ohioans are now protected from by vaccines.
Green, 51, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late February, two weeks before he would have been eligible for lifesaving coronavirus vaccines.
The next three months were a blur: What started as a dull ache in Green’s legs spread throughout his body, mimicking the flu and sending him to the emergency room when his blood oxygen levels became dangerously low.
Green spent the next 30 days on a ventilator, sedated as nurses turned his body to improve oxygen flow.
He awoke in April, confused and unaware that a month had passed since he was admitted to the hospital, and was later transferred from the intensive care unit to Kindred transitional hospital before starting rehabilitation.
Green’s wife, Danielle, and their three children hosted weekly prayer sessions on Zoom with St. Rita’s nurses and family in Texas and Louisiana, who supported the Green family through a stressful three months while the girls finished their schooling online, often worrying about their dad.
The family’s motto quickly became: Prayer changes things.
Danielle Green made sure to tell her husband’s physicians and nurses to do all they could to save Green, a former nurse, “because we need him.”
Green himself had to learn to walk for the second time in his life, slowly regaining the ability to climb the stairs alone or turn himself in bed.
He still steadies himself with a walker in case his blood pressure drops, causing Green to feel dizzy and unstable. And Green was discharged with a home oxygen tank to help him breathe as he recovers.
“God gave me an opportunity to be here,” Green said. “So, I have to now work hard to get back to the old Andrew so that I can get to (my daughters’) basketball games; I can go outside and shoot hoops with them or go upstairs and check to see if their room is clean, all those things that a father should do.”
Green was discharged Tuesday afternoon, greeted by friends and his Procter & Gamble coworkers in the parking lot for a surprise celebration of life as he headed home for the first time in months.
But a mystery remains: How was Green exposed to coronavirus while the family was so careful, avoiding unnecessary travel, wearing masks at work and sanitizing constantly. The rest of his family has since been vaccinated, scarred by the trauma of watching Green suffer for months from what is now a mostly preventable disease.
If Green had been exposed to coronavirus weeks later, after he would have been eligible for a vaccine himself, could his illness have been prevented too?