28-year-old still battling in the hospital 70 days after getting COVID-19

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - New Home native Jose Perez has been fighting for his life at University Medical Center for 70 days.

In May, the 28-year-old started feeling sick. After testing positive for COVID-19, he was sent home with medicine. Two days later, he told his fiancée Maddison Anderson he couldn’t breath or feel his arms. She turned on the lights and his lips were blue. He was rushed to the hospital where he was intubated and later sent to the ICU.

“The doctors they were like, we don’t understand. He’s 28 years old, no underlying health conditions. Nothing. How is this happening to him?” Maddison said.

That was just the start of a 70 day journey, so far.

“They trached him [tracheotomy] on June 1st,” Maddison said.

“Chest tubes on both sides, right and left lung. He’s had a cough that they think Covid has really brought out. Seizures, what maybe 4 weeks ago. Never had a seizure in his life. Apparently, he had a stroke at some point when he was probably intubated,” Jose’s mom, Norma Perez said.

The father of three, kids baseball coach and construction worker didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We run around so much we just never did it,” Norma said.

Since he’s been in the hospital, Jose has seen his kids three times. He and Maddison were supposed to get married in June.

“I would tell them, you know, don’t, you can’t give up on him. Like, we’ve got three kids. I can’t do this by myself,” Maddison said.

Norma says Jose’s strength and prayers have kept him alive. She says the word “can’t” wasn’t in his vocabulary before, but she’s heard it a few times in the hospital.

“And every time he says I can’t, he does,” Norma said.

Wednesday morning, Jose walked 200 feet, the farthest he has in months.

“We want you home. You’ve been gone too long from your family. And that’s what they’re aiming for. And that’s what we’re hoping for,” Norma said.

While it’s been a slow road to recovery, Norma says doctors plan to move him out of the ICU soon.

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