HOUSTON - As we hit the one year milestone of a COVID-19 diagnosis in Houston, we caught up with a local man who was diagnosed last summer. He talked about his tough journey and how far he feels we've come the past year.
Sheldon Weisfeld is still working hard to fully recover, after suffering severe health problems from COVID-19. His journey has lasted the past nine months.
"I ended up severely ill and running a temperature, lost taste, and on Father's Day, the ultimate gift from my son was to rush me to ICU. Within 15 minutes, I was on oxygen in a critical care unit at Methodist Hospital. As my son stated, if it's good enough for the President, it's perfect for my dad," states Sheldon.
He can finally laugh about it now, but he seriously had to fight for his life. He spent about ten days in the hospital, even joining the trial for the anti-viral prescription Remdesivir, before it got FDA approval. He says it did help him get stronger, so he was released from the hospital, but a few days later, he made a turn for the worse.
"COVID, as the doctor in the ER said, ate my right lung. And I was unfortunately one of the unlucky ones and he was going to try to save my life and save the lung. So I got readmitted on July 5 with major respiratory failure. They ended up putting a hole through my right rib cage and putting on some external piece of equipment to give the lung the opportunity to heal itself. Apparently I had developed a hole in the lung about the size of a grapefruit," explains Sheldon.
Sheldon believes he actually died for a few moments but then was brought back to life.
"One big bright light on one end and on the other end, was a fine pin light and perhaps that's about the time Father Mark started to read the 23rd Psalms," reflects Sheldon. He says it was a peaceful place to be, but he is beyond thankful for the medical and emotional support he got from his caretakers at Houston Methodist.
FOX 26 first met up with Sheldon five years ago, when he worked on a story with us, as the CEO of CoinVault. It’s taken a lot of hard work for Sheldon to make a comeback to where he was then, in a much healthier state.
"I spent the next 142 days in recovery and trying to learn to walk again. As the doctor told me today, your recovery is remarkable. Then he made it clear to say. I made it a very clear objective of realizing, I have to get out in the sun and I have to get out and exercise," exclaims Sheldon.
He pushes himself hard and can now walk almost four miles a day.
He’s surprised and disappointed that COVID-19 mandates in Texas are about to end, but encourages everyone to continue to take care of themselves and their families.
"This is not about not living. It's about living in a way that you're being responsible and you're being smart. We've got a disease out there. We know how it spreads. How can you say it doesn't spread this way? Too many people have died or been deathly ill, and I can speak of being in the black hole. If I can bring a face to the reality of how important this subject matter is, and how serious it is, then I've been successful," states Sheldon.