Navy veteran recovering from COVID-19 after spending 18 days on a ventilator

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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WJW) —  For 18 days, Loretta Novitskey sat by her telephone wondering if she would ever be able to talk to the love of her life again.

Her husband of 53 years, Regis, was on a ventilator at Lake Health West Medical Center in Willoughby, fighting for his life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I would just keep praying, please let him come off the ventilator,” Novitskey told FOX 8 Friday. “The doctor said you have to understand, he is 75, and this is going to be a little bit of a long road.”

Loretta says she is not sure how her husband got COVID-19.  She said they had been very careful and he only left the house to go grocery shopping.

“Around St. Patrick’s Day he started feeling sick but he didn’t have a fever,” Loretta said. “On March 23, he really started sleeping too much and he wasn’t eating or drinking. He still didn’t have a fever.”

But  on March 26, when the Navy veteran still was not feeling any better, his wife took him to the emergency room.

His oxygen levels were low and he developed a fever.  He was taken to the ICU and put on a ventilator.

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“It was very difficult because I couldn’t be there with him,” Loretta said. “The doctors and nurses were wonderful because they kept me updated and told me I could call as often as I needed to.”

She said after almost three weeks she got the news she was hoping to hear.

“On Easter Sunday he came off the ventilator,” Loretta said.  “The nurses, they were all clapping and cheering because he was the success story they were hoping for.”

Loretta  is hoping Regis will be home soon. She and the couple’s children and grandchildren are all very grateful for the great care Regis received.

“The medical staff at Lake Health West Medical Center are amazing and they are heroes,” Loretta said. “They saved my husband’s life. I want people that are praying for their loved ones to know it can happen; they can get better.  I will be praying for everyone that has it.”

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