Medical Technology

Skeptic to Advocate Man Survives Scary Bout of COVID-19

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MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. (AP) — Howard Breidenbach thought it was an elaborate conspiracy.

To control the populace the government employs to control the people, the government employs “coronavirus”. Feeding drama. Making up numbers.

He thought, “It was all a liar.”

until he forgot his personal name.

The 47-year-old independent trucker from Myrtle Creek snuck a look at COVID-19. On July 14, something was wrong.

Tonja Breidenbach Tonja Breidenbach, her wife of 29 years, said Monday that they believed it was pneumonia. “I didn’t feel very well, either. “When the man got sick I also felt sick.”

Howard’s condition deteriorated dramatically. After spending just a few days in CHI Mercy Medical Center, he was transferred to the intensive care unit however there was only so much the hospital staff could do for him. He required specialized care, and he needed it urgently.

One doctor contacted every hospital in the Pacific Northwest trying to find an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (also known as ECMO — to serve as an artificial lungs for the 47-year old, his condition was deteriorating continuously.

“That was very difficult and extremely upsetting” Tonja said of the phone call she received in the late July. “He could actually pass away.”

There were no such machines in Oregon however, the doctor at Mercy was successful in locating one in Seattle at the University of Washington Medical Center’s Montlake facility. Howard was in a medically-induced in a coma and flown to Seattle from Roseburg Regional Airport.

“I didn’t know about it,” Howard said of the transfer. “I went to bed in Roseburg and awoke in Seattle,” Howard said.

Howard was treated with an operation that temporarily removed blood from his body, then oxygenated it, then returned it to the heart. The procedure lasted more than 100 days.

On average the rate of survival for patients on such a treatment is estimated to be 30%.

Simply put, it was Howard’s last chance.

Meanwhile, his wife was in quarantine in Myrtle Creek until Aug. 16, when she could travel to Seattle to try and meet her husband.

“It was horrible to see him in that state,” Tonja said. “His chest was not moving, he was wearing a tube down his throat. They said that it was important to communicate with him and that he was trying to communicate with him. But it was terrible.

“They could awaken him but it was more of an awakening on the surface to ensure he was able to function in his brain,” she said.

Howard said that “In a Coma, you can hear voices but not be able to discern voices.” “All I could hear were whispers. I couldn’t even remember my name. I knew who I was, but I couldn’t remember my name.”

Tonja and Howard Breidenbach had big plans. They were working on starting their own trucking business with the intention of retiring in the next five to seven years. They had already bought the truck needed to achieve their dream and were searching for more equipment. The couple that had met in Heppner in 1990 was pleading for the simple gift of a new day together.

“I spent many hours in prayer on my knees,” Tonja said. “You will definitely discover what’s important.”

Hooty B LLC is the Breidenbachs’ trucking company. It is currently on hold. The truck has been sold, along with the couple’s home and home, a transaction that was concluded with the “thumbs-up” from Howard via video chat.

Howard Breidenbach is currently recuperating at his Myrtle Creek residence with the assistance of his wife Tonja Breidenbach.

Howard missed his 29th anniversary on the anniversary of his wedding during his 102-day stay in the hospital. He was discharged from the hospital on the night of Oct. 27 and celebrated his 48th birthday on Nov. 11.

He is grateful to pulmonary specialist Dr. Luana Petre Nedita for helping save his life.

Howard said, “I owe everything to her, and I would like it to be known.”

After Howard’s mishap, he and Tonja both agreed to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

“My idea was that we all get the shot and all suffer from cancer 10 years later,” Howard said. “I was wrong, and I’m the one to blame and am reaping my rewards.

“I’m 48 years old and need someone to take care of me. Every mental image you hold of yourself has been lost.

“I kept having this dream we were at the coast and it seemed so real. The picture we took, it wasn’t there. He said, “I just kept waking up in an unreal nightmare.”

Today both Howard and Tonja are encouraging those on the fence to vaccinate or not vaccinate in order to get the shot.

“I thought it was a scam until I saw (COVID-19),” Howard said. “It’s serious and real.

“COVID is not a joke.”

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