As Corey Ripe was wheeled out the doors at Mansfield Methodist last Sunday, he was finally reunited with his fiancé Jena Parris.
The two had been separated a week before as she rushed him into the E.R. noting he was struggling for air.
“They literally whisked him away and I never saw him again. That was so hard also, because he didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t see him for a week,” said Parris.
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Just hours before, she said he’d arrived home from running an errand with a strange look in his eyes.
He told her he just needed a nap.
“I thought, I mean what is going on? Is it a cold? I mean he had a sniffle, not a cough, not a fever,” said Parris.
As he slept, Parris said a friend pointed out an article noting new research suggesting that seizures can be an early sign of COVID-19.
Just a few days before, Ripe had suffered one while waiting in a drive-thru.
It was a first for the 47-year-old, and a CAT scan had shown there was nothing to worry about.
But as Parris watched him sleep, she started to grow concerned. As he woke, just two hours after laying down, she knew they needed to head towards the hospital.
“By that point it was just a totally different person. He had an altered mental status. He couldn’t breathe at all. You could hear the fluid in his lungs,” said Parris.
Within 45 minutes of arriving, Ripe was intubated with his lungs relying on the help of a ventilator.
Doctors told Parris he had a 50% of survival.
Over the next four days, she and Ripe’s family watched for signs of progress via FaceTime calls with the help of nurses.
While many COVID patients have spent two weeks or more on a ventilator, Ripe was quick to recover.
Within a week, he was headed home.
“We would talk about it at night… watch the news or what have you or read an article about it. But you never think it’s going to happen to you, and then you have a 50/50 shot to live,” said Ripe.
Ripe said he doesn’t know how he contracted the virus, and he doesn’t have any of the conditions that make people more prone to struggling with it.
Thankfully, Jena never showed any symptoms, and her teenage daughter Jillian tested negative.
Now as the world grows antsy to return to normal, they’re counting their blessings and taking advantage of the time together.