WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — “I figured it was just a minor little cold, you know I figured what it always is just fight through it and grit my teeth and keep on going,” says 38-year-old Michael Rodriguez, a relatively healthy Wichita Falls State Hospital worker. It all started on June 30th with a cough and fatigue then, two days later Michael tested positive.
Things quickly went downhill for Michael and his wife, Melanie.
“It just got worse and worse and worse, on the fourth of july, it hit pretty hard where I couldn’t breath,” says Michael.
“We had ended calling and ambulance to come pick him up,” says Melanie.
Michael was taken to United Regional and was released 3 hours later, but his health and breathing went on a rapid decline. Two days later, Michael checked into to Electra Memorial Hospital and was put on a high flow of oxygen before even more bad news came.
“They didn’t have the equipment there to keep him on this machine so he was going to be transferred back to Wichita, but that meant he would go from stable to critical condition,” says Melanie.
On July 10th, Michael was put on a ventilator was very close to death.
They told me they did not think he was going to make it because the ventilator was at 100, it was the highest setting and there was just no room for improvement,” says Melanie.
“You know I was just as scared as anyone else would be,” says Michael, “not knowing what the outcome would be, not knowing if I was going to get to see my family again.”
Several days later, doctors were able to wake Michael and take him off the ventilator, but a painful side effect was discovered from his stay at the hospital that later required surgery.
“I learned that he had a bed sore,” says Melanie, “and so we got him transferred back to electra where we were going to do physical therapy and wound care and it was at this time I learned that he didn’t have one but he had four.”
For three long months, Michael rotated between three different hospitals (United Regional, Electra Memoria, University Medical Center in Lubbock) to be treated for his COVID and bed sores. His lungs have also been permanently scarred from the virus. Melanie and their children also caught it, but were not affected as badly.
Michael is reportedly the 8th person to test positive for COVID-19 at the North Texas State Hospital Wichita Falls campus. He will be able to come home this Friday.
For those who are still skeptical of the virus, Michael and Melanie have this message:
“You don’t realize how real it is until a loved one is affected by it,” says Melanie.
“And for those who don’t believe in it, I’m walking proof, that it can and will take loved ones from you,” says Michael.