Updated: Oct 11
Family credits plasma treatment for saving his life. Watch the Channel 10, "Miami-Dade County news" report on Lorenzo Rodriguez's miraculous recovery, reported by Ian Margol in the hyperlink below. Family story, shared by Lorenzo's daughter, Esther.
Lorenzo Rodriguez, age 83, retired Watercross farm owner (Miami, Florida)
"Dad's story of survival"- written by daughter, Esther Silva.
My father, Lorenzo Rodriguez, a very healthy 83 yr old, woke up the morning of March 23rd not feeling well. He had developed a sore throat, diarrhea and a fever of 101 degrees. He and his 70 year old wife, of 25 years, Celia, were aware of the virus and knew that it could be deadly for the 65 year old plus population. They decided it would be best for him to see his primary care doctor immediately. After visiting his doctor that afternoon, he was told that he was likely getting a cold, and that he should just go home and rest.
Not feeling any better 4 days later, on March 27th, he went for a Covid-19 test, just to be safe. He received word, 3 days later that he was in fact positive for the Coronavirus. By April 2nd, he was having shortness of breath and 911 had to be called. He was transported to the Baptist Hospital, where he was immediately admitted to the ICU for pneumonia. Due to how contagious the Coronavirus is, he was not allowed to have visitors, so neither his wife, my family or I could be there with him, to comfort and support him as you would usually do when someone is in the hospital.
He called me around midnight that night, to tell me they were intubating him, I tried to reassure him that everything would be alright and told him that we loved him and that we would be praying for him and checking on him daily. I tried to calm his mind by telling him that we would be picking him up and bringing him home, celebrating his recovery, before too long. We knew all possibilities existed, but my faith was so strong that I knew that we would be bringing him home.
They placed my dad in an induced coma and on a ventilator shortly after we hung up. (His wife Celia by this time had also tested positive for Covid-19, was having trouble breathing, and was also admitted to the hospital. She was given antibiotics and steroids and I am happy to say, was discharged 8 days later)
Our family spent 17 days without seeing or talking to my dad. These were some of the scariest 17 days of our lives. We were only able to speak to the nurses, which I would do at least 2 x’s a day. At that time this virus was still too new and not much was known, but we had heard that a large amount of ICU patients that were put on a ventilator did not survive. The doctors warned me that dad had a low % of survival, primarily due to his age and we should prepare ourselves for the possibility of him not pulling through. We couldn't fathom the thought of losing him! We pushed this thought from our minds and continued to be strong in our faith, and pray for his complete recovery. He was proned for almost a week trying to keep fluid away from his lungs. The nurses continued to keep us updated on his progress, while the doctors continued to try to prepare us for his inevitable decline.
One of the many nights that I laid awake, worrying about him, I read a story about another patient that had recovered from something called Convalescent plasma therapy, so I called the hospital and asked the nurse if he was a candidate for this treatment; she wasn't too sure, but was going to ask the attending physician if they could accommodate our family request for him to receive this therapy. The very next day, the nurse called to tell me that he was put on the treatment waiting list. I went to sleep that night asking God for a miracle.
I remember the next morning very well, as at 5:50 am I received an early morning call from the nurse advising us that my dad was receiving the plasma that same day. We were hopeful that this treatment would help him as it had helped many others. By 4:30 pm the treatment had been completed, and at 11:30 pm that night, we received word that my dad had both opened his eyes and moved one hand. He started improving day by day.
Although we were not able to go see him in person, Face Timing and Zoom was approved, so patients could see their families and vise versa. We began to contact him via Face Time, with the help of his nurse, who would hold the phone in front of him, to let him listen to our voices and see our faces.
About 10 days later he was taken off of the ventilator and moved out of ICU. He with-stood 4 days without the ventilator, but got pneumonia again and started having kidney issues as well. He was placed on the ventilator again and began to have dialysis treatment. Due to the devastating effect that the virus can have on the body, he began having hemoglobin problems and had to have 3 transfusions. After a couple of days they extubated him and he started improving. Initially, he wasn’t able to talk due to lacerations on his mouth from the vent tube. As time went on, he was slowly able to eat liquids little by little and eventually started talking a number of words at a time. He started physical and speech therapy and continued to improve quickly. His doctor's were baffled on his recovery, and the day came when he was finally discharged to go home without any restrictions. On June 16th, 5 days before Father's Day, he was wheeled out of the hospital while receiving a standing ovation from the hospital staff and visitors, as well as his family who were there to finally take him home.
After 75 days in the hospital with doctor's telling us to prepare for his passing, my father crushed COVID-19 and came home to us! We/He couldn't have asked for a better Father's Day present.
He is doing amazingly well, and at the writing of this story, has since celebrated his 84th birthday on August 10th. All the glory to God and my dad's unwavering strength to fight this virus away!!!!
If I can offer any advice to those who have not contracted the Coronavirus, or who don't have family members who have contracted it, I can only suggest that you take the virus serious, as it in fact can be very serious. Medical professionals did not think my 83 year old father would come home; please protect your loved ones by taking the precautions recommended by the CDC, as I would not wish this experience on anyone else.
My dad and I, very happy to have him home.
"Face Timing with my very fragile father while he was on the ventilator, trying to keep his spirits high.
Dad and our family, on the day the he returned home from the hospital.
Dad celebrating his 84th birthday
a birthday that per the doctors, he was not supposed to live to see.
MEDIA INQUIRIES: PLEASE CONTACT, CAROLYN ANDREWS- CAROLYN@TRUESTORIESOFCOVID19.COM 713-824-2388 WWW.TRUESTORIESOFCOVID19.COM