ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando man is back home after he was in ICU after testing for COVID-19.
Juan Rivera, a truck driver, was on a trip to the northeast in March when he said he wasn't feeling well. He flew back to Orlando.
“I was just tired; I didn't have power for anything,” Rivera said.
Juan found out March 24 he tested positive for COVID-19. It got even worse — he was coughing and had trouble breathing. He ended up at the Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in the ICU, on a ventilator, and intubated.
“It was hard … I love him very much,” said Juan’s wife Marcella.
“I just wanted to hear his voice because before went down he did tell me that he was going to be OK, so I knew in my heart we was going to be OK. But not being there everyone banned from being in the hospital,” said Marcella Rivera.
During this time, chaplains at the hospital spoke with Marcella on the phone.
“He was one we were most worried about. We would pray with her over the phone and would ask us to pray outside Juan's Room,” said Orlando Health Dr. P. Philips Hospital Chaplain Melinda Plumley.
Over time he started getting better. Doctors took him off the ventilator. On April 9, he Facetimed with his wife and family as his eye opened.
“His first words were come pick me up. Like he is here he is alive with us with us it’s a blessing,” Marcella said.
The hospital released him April 14, making it home to celebrate his daughter’s 15th birthday.
“I started crying myself, just made it home,” said Rivera.
Rivera undergoing physical therapy, but said he’s excited to spend the rest of his life with his family.
Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.