CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As of today, 39 people here in the Coastal Bend have recovered from COVID-19, and 64-year-old Raul Garza is one of them.
Garza is a U.S. Army veteran who proudly served our nation for 22 years.
He's a strong man, who despite being in a coma for three weeks, defeated the odds.
“You know when you’re on the ventilator and you can’t move, your mind takes you to some pretty dark places," he said. "I told the nurses ‘Just pull the plug,’ and they said ‘No. I’m not going to do that. You have to think positive,’ and that’s why I say the nurses over there (at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Shoreline) saved my life -- because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.”
The doctors and nurses never let Garza give up, cheering him on after four weeks at the hospital. He was in a coma for three of those weeks, and on a ventilator fighting this awful virus for two.
“They know the fear," Garza said. "They know the danger of going into a room where I’m contaminated and I can contaminate them, but they went in there. They go in there and they would tend to me, disregarding the fact that they could get this virus. I know they have families, too, and that guilt weighed heavy on me. Thankfully, praise God, none of them got hurt."
He originally thought he was passing kidney stones.
Garza said he didn’t feel well days after a trip to Puerto Rico.
“That plane was jam-packed with folks and the air was real stale and people (were) coughing and I remember saying to my wife, ‘Man this is like a flying petri dish,' ” he said.
A few days later, he was admitted to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Shoreline.
“I remember Dr. Ram showing me a vial of plasma they were going to use to transfuse me, and next thing I know, I’m waking up three weeks later out of a coma,” Garza said.
Three weeks later, on Easter Sunday, Garza came to: What he says was a true miracle.
“The doctors and nurses over at Shoreline -- I owe them my life," Garza said, dabbing away tears. "They saved my life. I'm very humbled and I’m very thankful that they looked out for me. They didn’t give up on me when I gave up. Thank you. I love you all.”
Garza is undergoing rehabilitation for muscle atrophy from being immobile for so long.
He said he’s working on getting strong so he can polka with his wife on May 31, on what will be their 40th wedding anniversary.