The past year has seen some dramatic swings in America’s fight against COVID-19. But while the number of COVID cases are trending downward, some long-haulers are having a hard time recovering from the disease.
Alex Castro of Sandy, Oregon, used to be able to swim, cook and hike, but now it takes every breath he has and baby steps, to just walk across his living room.
At 44 years old, Castro is just a shell of the man he used to be. COVID caused him heart failure and ravaged his kidneys and lungs.
He got infected with the coronavirus before there was a vaccine. His wife told CBS News’ David Begnaud they didn’t take the virus seriously. The couple thought it was just like the regular flu.
Castro spent 299 days at Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon — 108 of those days were spent on ECMO, which is a heart and lung bypass machine.
Castro’s oldest son AJ said Castro would be walked with the ECMO “maybe two, three days a week” as blood was being pumped out of his body and back into it, doing the work of his heart and lungs as he walked.
“The health care workers and the nurses and the doctors all in the ICU, they were a godsend. They literally saved my dad’s life,” AJ said.
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