Man Recovering from COVID Says He Awoke from Coma After Hearing Wife's Voice: 'She's My Angel'
A 43-year-old man who was in a months-long fight with coronavirus is crediting his wife for helping him emerge from a coma.
Don Gillmer of South Carolina started showing symptoms of COVID-19 a few days after he tested positive for the virus in early July, NBC affiliate WYFF reported. When he developed a cough and had trouble sleeping, Gillmer gathered his things and went to Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in Charleston.
"[I] knew it was time to go to the hospital," he told the outlet.
Gillmer — a drummer from Greenville, according to a GoFundMe set up to help with his medical expenses — stayed more than two months in the hospital, where he received different treatments in doctors' efforts to help his body heal.
"I received convalescent plasma twice, remdesivir, nothing was working," he told WYFF. "Nothing was helping me recover, so I’ll never really forget when they came in with papers I needed to sign to go on a ventilator. That scared me."
When his temperature reached 104 degrees weeks later, doctors decided to put him in a medically induced coma.
According to NPR, the treatment is typically used as a last resort to reduce the brain cells' metabolic demand temporarily.
After Gillmer was placed into the coma, his wife, Lacy, went to the hospital to be by his side. Doctors warned her that Gillmer's recovery, and his life, depended on how he responded overnight.
"I just told him that he was doing great, that they were taking such good care of him, he was in amazing hands," she told WYFF.
Though he couldn't move or speak, Gillmer said he was able to hear his wife's voice, which had a powerful effect on his recovery.
"I swear I heard her voice, and by the time she left, I was stable," he recalled. "She’s my angel. She’s the reason I’m here."
After his condition improved and he awoke from his coma, Gillmer had more treatment to endure, such as a tracheostomy, followed by physical therapy to relearn how to walk. He was finally released from the hospital in mid-September, more than 60 days after he arrived.
"I think about her drive to the hospital the night they told her that I may not make it," he said of the ordeal. "I can’t imagine that, so I tell her often I don’t know that I could have been as strong as her."
According to a New York Times database, more than 21.5 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday morning, a figure that represents an 8 percent rise in cases over the last two weeks. More than 363,000 Americans have died from the virus, the outlet reported.
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