SARASOTA, Fla. - Lila Huse watched as emergency crews in full hazmat suits put her husband on a gurney and into an ambulance. She wondered if this was the last time she’d see him alive.
“I took his wedding ring off of him, and I held it,” she said. “I was just sick.”
It was March 30, and 77-year-old Steve Huse had just tested positive for COVID-19.
The couple was at home monitoring his symptoms, when all of a sudden, he began to rapidly deteriorate.
“I just passed out,” Steve Huse said. “And then Lila called 911, and they took me to the hospital and went to work on me. I don’t remember anything for the next 30-some days.”
For more than a month, Steve Huse was on a ventilator at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
When he couldn’t be weaned off it, they did a tracheostomy.
Lila Huse said her only update came in the mornings as a phone call to let her know if he made it through the night.
“I would just wait until I went to sleep at night so that I could hear again the next day,” she said. “I was just paralyzed, I couldn’t do anything. Not being able to communicate with him, or hold his hand or look at him, was one of the worst things.”
And his condition grew even worse.
Steve Huse suffered infection after infection. His kidneys began to fail. The worst was when he came down with a type of fungal infection, called a Candida, according to Lila Huse.
“That affected his lungs, and doctors told me it could affect his brain and his aortic valve,” Lila Huse said. “At that time, they were also trying to wean him off the sedative and paralytic medication, and he wasn’t really coming out of it. He wasn’t following simple commands.”
The doctor called and asked her about taking her husband off life support.
“My response was, we haven’t given him enough of a chance, so I refused to do that,” she said.
Doctors put him on a ten-day course of Remdesivir, and little by little, he improved. He underwent weeks of physical therapy, where he learned how to walk again.
“It was like having rubber legs. I took about three steps and that was all I could do,” Steve Huse said.
But his recovery was by no means a straight line.
“One day was great, and the next day he’d have another infection,” Lila said. “It was a very long recovery.”
It was 102 days after he left this driveway on a stretcher, he returned home to a warm welcome from family and friends. But defying the odds is something Steve Huse insists, he didn’t do alone.
“I feel so lucky,” he said. “But also, I thank God, thank the doctors, thank the nurses, the nurse’s aids, everybody I dealt with. They all contributed to making me well.”
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