On Saturday, people across the country celebrate American independence, so Shaker Avery celebrates a different kind of freedom.
“It feels great,” Avery told CNN. “It’s still a bit difficult to wrap up after knowing what I’ve done, but I’m very grateful and grateful that I’m still here.”
Avery, who turns 24 on July 4, has recently returned home after spending 76 days at a hospital in Kansas. Many use sedatives and ventilators to combat the new coronavirus.
“I’m at home, safe and with my family,” said Avery, a barber in Kansas City, Missouri, when asked how to celebrate his birthday and Independence Day. “I think there are many other birthdays. I’m sure we can make up for this birthday.”
“You are as risky as anyone else,” Avery said. “You can become the healthiest person on earth, and every time you carelessly go out here and act like it’s not genuine, you endanger your life.”
“It’s very realistic,” he said. “I was almost taken away from my family.”
“I felt like someone was suffocating me.”
When Avery arrived at the Menora Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas on April 6, he said he was feeling like every Covid-19 symptom: chills, high fever, and body aches. But the thing that worried him most was his shortness of breath.
“Even if I took a deep breath, it felt like someone was suffocating me,” he said.
“I definitely thought something bad was going to happen,” said Avery. “I immediately thought of my son. I immediately thought of my family.”
Avery says he hardly remembers what happened next. Upon arrival at the hospital, Avery remembers getting out of his car and in a wheelchair. He has a faint memory of being taken to the intensive care unit.
“I don’t want to say I’m starting to panic,” he said, “but I was definitely scared. It’s not a normal room. There you are in critical condition.”
Before getting sick, Avery was taking precautions to ensure her family’s safety during the lockdown, including making sure she had enough food.
“But I can’t say I took it too seriously,” he said. “I didn’t think it was so serious”
“The elderly were infected with this virus.”
Shakell’s mother, Willetta Avery, says her son began to get sick at the end of March. At that time, US authorities were still discussing Whether to issue mask guidance, And that World Health Organization They encouraged people to wear masks only when they were ill.
“In my view, older people were infected with this virus and were more likely to be infected as long as they actually had the virus,” said Willetta Avery.
“It was very scary to hear my son experiencing this,” she said, and when she learned that her son needed a ventilator, ” It has become a reality.”
“And I didn’t know much about ventilators…it scared me to know that he would have to be one of them,” she said. “At that time, the seriousness of his illness struck me only.”
Willetta Avery remembers receiving a phone call from the hospital at 4:30 am on April 11th.
“They basically told us that Shakell had reached the limit of ventilation support and had little else to do,” she said.
The hospital finally allowed her to see her son.
“It was as if I would see him at the end,” she said.
Avery’s doctor at the Menora Medical Center worked with a doctor at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City-both part of the HCA health care system-and treated him with convalescent plasma.
According to HCA HealthcareOn April 20, Avery became one of the first patients in the region to receive convalescent plasma after obtaining plasma from a fully recovered Covid-19 patient in New York. Willetta Avery says her son’s condition began to improve after receiving the plasma.
“Never forget the day when he first opened his eyes after we turned down sedatives,” said Jessica Knox, a registered nurse at Menora Medical. Talked to CNN affiliate WDAF.. “I called his uncle and said,’Oh God, he’s awakening like we’re around a big corner.'”
“I defeated Covid-19”
After Shekel came, he was still struggling to fight the virus.
“Being independent, I’m used to doing everything myself,” he said.
But he needed help getting up and going to the bathroom. He could neither speak nor walk. He also suffered from depression in the hospital, especially when his family visited his home in a tent installed outside his window.
“It’s been a great moment so far, but as soon as they left, I went right back down,” he said. “It was really hard to get away from my girlfriend. It was really hard to get away from my son, mother and brother.”
Avery began to improve, and he was removed from the ventilator. He began physical therapy, was sent to a complete rehabilitation center and was discharged at the end of last month.
Shekel returned to the Menora Medical Center with her family on Tuesday and thanked him for helping the staff.
Video of CNN affiliate KMBC Avery outside the hospital is holding a walker and mask and wearing a black shirt that says “I defeated Covid-19”. Some of the nurses who greeted his family had signs with “Shakell Strong” and “Shakell, you are our hero.”
“I was more than grateful,” Avery said. “I may have said “thank you” indefinitely many times, and it would not be as strong as how grateful I am.” “
Avery has a message for young people, who says he wants to be as open as possible.
“Each time you inadvertently exit your door-no mask or empathy for the life of others-you are counting your days,” he said.
“My advice is not to be selfish and try to be as selfless as possible,” he said. “You don’t just hurt yourself.”
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