NEW HOME, Texas — A South Plains man is finally home after spending 77 days at University Medical Center with complications from COVID-19.
Jose Perez was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 16th, according to his fiancée Maddison Anderson, and immediately quarantined in their house. A few days after, his oxygen reached dangerously low levels.
“I had just gone and checked on him that night and he said ‘I can’t breathe. I feel blue in the lips. I can’t lift up my arms,'” said Anderson, “So I got the pulse ox and I checked his oxygen and he was at 32 percent of oxygen and so we knew immediately we had to call the ambulance.”
Anderson said Perez’s mother and father had also contracted the virus but neither of them had cases as severe as his.
“Jose told [the doctor] ‘[Do] whatever you need to get me back to my family,'” said Anderson. “He wasn’t even in there 24 hours before they intubated him.”
Anderson said Perez was intubated from May 19 to June 1 and was chemically paralyzed.
“We were just going to take it day-by-day. We didn’t know how quickly things could change so we would call every morning and every night,” said Anderson. “Inside those weeks, we got several calls like ‘He’s not going to make it, like, we lost him.'”
Perez said he doesn’t remember a lot about his experience but as an active 28-year-old with no underlying health conditions, he did not expect to get COVID-19.
“I have a pretty rough lifestyle when it comes to work. I’ve been hurt many times, taken many falls, bumps and bruises and never really had to go to the hospital,” said Perez. “This hit me a lot harder than I ever thought it would or a lot faster than I thought it would.
Perez said he’s upset the whole process hurt his family emotionally.
“They got a lot of scary calls… I couldn’t have imagined seeing my kids, or seeing my parents, my spouse,” said Perez. “I couldn’t imagine [them] seeing me that way.”
Perez was released from the University Medical Center on August 5, where a celebration took place to mark his release.
“These nurses took care of me for the last 80 days and they really did become part of my family, so when I left, it was definitely bittersweet but I was ready to go,” said Perez. “I had a harder time leaving than I thought I would, they’re family because they took care of me when no one else could.”