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Very few people would choose to celebrate their 37th birthday in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). But, for Desmond and Mavis Yeboah, it was the perfect place to mark the occasion.
In September, Desmond tested positive for COVID-19.
The hospital where he was initially treated sent Desmond home with an oxygen tank and had him follow the recommended protocol for monitoring the virus’s symptoms. However, a few days later, his health began to deteriorate.
“He was having trouble breathing,” said Mavis. “He wasn’t getting any better.”
That’s when the couple decided to come to the emergency department at AdventHealth Central Texas. Once examined, it was determined that Desmond had pneumonia and needed to be admitted to the hospital’s ICU.
“Even after he was admitted, he wasn’t getting better,” said Mavis, “and after a few days, he had to be put on a ventilator.”
Desmond remained in the hospital for six weeks and eventually had to have a tracheostomy. But thanks to the efforts of his care team, his health eventually improved.
Now, almost two months later, Desmond Mavis hugged and thanked the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and other clinicians who cared for them. The reunion was an emotional moment for both the Yeboahs and Desmond’s care team.
Becky Bringhurst, physical therapist at AdventHealth Central Texas, helped Desmond during his recovery in the ICU.
“It’s not every day that patients come back. To be able to see [Desmond] make a full circle and get back to being healthy is why we work in health care,” said Becky.
“We treat some of the sickest patients in the hospital, and not all of our patients’ outcomes are positive,” said Ashley Scott, ICU director at AdventHealth Central Texas. “ So, to get to celebrate with someone who was able to recover is very special.”
Desmond, who is a licensed practitioner nurse (LPN) and has been in health care for more than five years, said he didn’t think COVID-19 was anything he would have to worry about.
“I worked out, stayed active and went for runs, and I didn’t fit in the age group or criteria of people who were likely to get sick from the virus,” said Desmond. “So, I procrastinated to get vaccinated. Now, I realize how serious this illness is.”
Desmond and Mavis have been married for 10 years and live in Killeen with their four children. He continues to recover and is getting stronger by the day. He hopes others never go through what his family has endured.
“I recommend getting vaccinated,” said Desmond. “You never know when it’s going to hit you. You don’t want to go through the experience I went through.”