COVID: Gympie mum’s relief, uncle survives months in ICU
THE family of a loving father who made a "miraculous" recovery from COVID-19 after spending nearly four months in hospital with organ failure say he is determined to not waste his second chance at life.
MORE GYMPIE NEWS
Gympie woman Julie Jones shared the story of her 77-year-old uncle 'Braschie's' incredible recovery from the deadly virus on Facebook, and said he was released from hospital on Monday, after being admitted in March.
On March 19, Braschie was admitted to the infectious disease ward of Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital with a suspected case of COVID-19.
Within four days, Braschie was in the ICU and then placed in an induced coma.
Braschie's daughter, Alexie O'Brien said her dad caught the virus while travelling.
"He and mum took a trip to New York for their 50th wedding anniversary," Mrs O'Brien said.
"Dad's a bit of a romantic and they were on an opera tour."
"They left just as the virus was taking off over there."
Mrs O'Brien said the family suspected her mum may have caught the virus as well, but only a mild case.
"She quarantined and tests came back negative, but we believe she might have had it."
Mrs O'Brien said her mum quarantined in Brisbane, and will stay there with Braschie until he is well enough to travel to their home in Cairns.
Mrs O'Brien said her dad went downhill quickly after being admitted to hospital and soon started showing symptoms of multi-organ failure; his lungs and kidneys failed and he was placed on dialysis.
"We were most worried about his heart failing," she said.
Mrs O'Brien said at one stage doctors did not have much hope, and called her mum in to say goodbye.
But Braschie rallied, and pulled through.
"He just hung on for three or four weeks," Mrs O'Brien said.
"On the Monday before Easter we all rallied."
She said they sent out messages to their family and friends in Australia and around the world, and at 8pm on the Monday they all lit candles for Braschie.
"We all breathed for dad," Mrs O'Brien said.
"We had spiritual healers, Buddhist healers, we all prayed, visualised and sent energy for dad."
That week he started to improve.
"It is a miracle, especially at his age."
"They started talking about taking him out of the coma, and bit by bit he started to get better."
But then Braschie faced another setback; his bowel started bleeding out and haemorrhaging.
Doctors operated and discovered a part of his bowel had died, he "sailed through surgery" but then his heart started to fail.
"That was probably the scariest thing," Mrs O'Brien said.
She said doctors and nurses had to keep rotating him and when they did his blood pressure would spike.
"It was a bit like two steps forward, one step back with a few things," she said.
"After Easter, he started to settle, and we kept lighting candles for him."
Mrs O'Brien said it took another three weeks for her dad to come out of the coma, and he spent another six weeks in the ICU, bringing his time in hospital up to almost four months.
"He had to learn how to talk and swallow again, he was on feeding tubes and he had no strength," she said.
"He was in rehab for a month and they focused on his heart and getting him stronger.
"He is very determined to get fitter, he lost a lot of weight.
"He said he doesn't want to waste his opportunity and was a 'very lucky boy' with unfinished business."
Mrs O'Brien said her dad was proud of how the family had rallied behind him.
"We wouldn't say no," she said.
Ms Jones said she was thankful to everyone who helped treat Braschie.
"Thanks to the all the doctors and medical teams that helped save my uncle's life," Ms Jones said.
"It's a wonderful, positive blessing for my family and extended family, after losing my husband suddenly on May 15, 2015, to a massive heart attack.
"Grief is a hard journey and to have a miracle man to survive COVID-19, it's wonderful for my aunty and cousins still to be able to enjoy making more beautiful memories.
"Truly realise how fortunate you are to be alive and healthy, a gift denied to many."
Mrs O'Brien said Braschie was relieved to be out of hospital and his organs had bounced back, but he still had a long road to recovery before going home to Cairns.