76-year-old COVID-19 survivor returns home

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LINCOLN, Ill. (WCIA) — An Arcola man who battled COVID-19 and its effects for nearly four months has returned home. Paul Froese tested positive at the end of March. Eventually his son, daughter-in-law and three of his grandchildren also tested positive. He’s been to facilities all over the state: Champaign, Chicago, Charleston and lastly, Lincoln.

“I was sicker than what I thought. I just didn’t know what was going on most of the time,” he explained. “It was a devastating sickness.”

Froese tested positive for the virus for eight straight weeks. Once his tests started coming back negative, he moved to Generations in Lincoln for recovery.

“When I came in here I was able to take five steps in therapy, then I had to sit down. Now I can walk the halls for as long as I want,” Froese explained.

“It is a great feeling for everybody when we are able to successfully get someone off the ventilator, decannulated, take their trachea out and send them home,” said Generations Healthcare Network’s Lead Respiratory Consultant Mary Cler.

Paul and his wife Marsha even celebrated their 55th anniversary at Generations.

“They let me come over here, and we brought a cake and we celebrated here,” explained Marsha.

Now that he’s finally out, he’s excited to doing a lot of things many take for granted, like getting a hair cut. But more than just a fresh trim, he’s eager to be with the people he loves.

“That was the biggest thing I missed. While I was in Chicago, I didn’t have a phone. I had no way of communicating with anybody, and that was misery,” he recalled.

Froese’s family says they don’t know how he got the virus, but they say his journey is a reminder of how serious it is and how important it is that everyone is careful. His son also tested positive for COVID-19, as well as his son’s wife and their three children. They’ve all since recovered.

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