Gary Degrijze, an Army veteran, has climbed out of a deep health hole caused by COVID-19.
A Bellport resident and father of four, Degrijze, 48, spent seven weeks on a ventilator at Stony Brook University Hospital, clinging to life.
“When he was in the [Intensive Care Unit], he lost his pulse at least two times,” Jerry Rubano, a doctor in Trauma/ Acute Care/ Surgical Critical Care in the Department of Surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, said in a press release. “His kidneys stopped working for about a month where he was on continuous dialysis and his lungs were probably some of the worst that we’ve seen. He was as sick as can be.”
The medical team at Stony Brook stayed in touch with Gary’s wife Ana Degrijze every day, providing updates on his health.
“I had a nurse calling me every day after the rounds were done,” Degrijze said in the release. “I thought that was so great.”
Degrijze had a tracheostomy and was taken off the ventilator on May 11. After he no longer needed the ventilator, he saw his wife and four children after two months.
“I don’t remember anything that happened while I was intubated,” Degrijze said..
Degrijze, who was discharged on June 5, is in rehab, where he will work on regaining motion in his arms. He would like to serve another five years in the Army Reserve and retire after 20 years of service.
Degrijze has “truly made a remarkable recovery,” Rubano said. “His determination and the dedication of the team taking care of him have made all the difference.”