LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Less than a year ago, Eddie Vicente was in the pool swimming with his two boys and spent time jet-skiing with his wife of 20 years, but in mid-April, he was admitted into Wellington Regional Medical Center. Vicente required oxygen after testing positive for COVID-19.
"I don't really remember very much at all," said Vicente, while sitting in his home in Lake Worth Beach with his family. "Even though it's not easy, what I'm going through right now, I feel so lucky."
Vicente doesn't remember much about his brush with death, but his wife Sonia remembers the heartache and the pain.
"We had no idea the roller coaster ride that we were heading to. We had no idea," said Sonia Vicente. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I wasn't going to see my husband for months."
At the time, Eddie Vicente said he was a healthy 46-year-old and didn't have any underlying conditions. He believes he contracted coronavirus from a co-worker, and the virus viciously attacked his lungs. His family said he was hooked to a ventilator for weeks, was diagnosed with pneumonia and in July they were told he was likely not going to make it.
"I was ready to let him go because they said his lungs were gone and they didn't know what other organ would start to fail," said Sonia Vicente.
But her his body and lungs never quit. Sonia Vicente said her husband was transferred to multiple hospitals, undergoing kidney dialysis and blood transfusions, and he ended up spending more than seven months -- 223 days, to be exact -- in the hospital.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the median length of hospitalization among coronavirus survivors was 10–13 days.
"When I talk to my friends and family, I tell them just to take care of themselves," he said. "This is real."
Eddie Vicente is now home in Lake Worth Beach after losing 100 pounds. He's still on oxygen, but he's growing stronger, is fighting for his family and is now urging everyone not to let your guard down.
"I guess everything that has happened to him is a miracle," said Sonia Vicente. "If you believe in miracles, this is it. If you believe in faith, this is it."
Eddie Vicente has not been able to work since contracting COVID-19, while the bills continue to mount. A GoFundMe page was created for anyone who would like to help him and his family.