SAN ANTONIO — After spending months fighting for their lives in the hospital with COVID-19, two strangers found support in each other, and a motivation to triumph over the virus.
“I was asleep for two and a half months,” said Carlos Gonzalez recalling his five-month stay in Methodist Hospital fighting COVID-19.
Gonzalez was put on an ECMO life support, the machine vital to keeping his lungs and heart functioning.
The care team at Methodist Hospital said because his case was so severe, they believed the 34-year-old father would need a lung transplant to survive.
Meanwhile, Amy Velez was facing a similar diagnosis, her lungs too frail to function on their own.
“I was the first patient to stay on ECMO longest. It was over one hundred days,” said 35-year-old Velez.
The two shared space in ICU at Methodist, both in a desperate struggle to survive.
And, then prayers were answered for Velez, as she began to recover.
While Velez was in in-patient rehab, she asked to visit ICU again to express her gratitude to her care team.
That’s when she said she remembered Gonzalez, and saw he was still fighting for his life.
“I spoke to him and I said, ‘You can do this God's got your back,’” said Velez.
And, it turns out Velez did too.
“I’ve have been praying for him ever since I left, for his recovery,” said Velez.
Gonzalez said her support helped him find the strength to recover.
“I just remember her being like me and just in bed, still asleep and now seeing her standing, I knew, I knew that it is possible putting up the fighting,” said Gonzalez. “And, I said, ‘I can do it too.’”
Then Carlos was moved to in-patient rehab. The room he was placed, “The Warrior Room” as he called it, was the same room Velez also found her strength to recover weeks before.
And, on Thursday, Gonzalez’s fierce determination had finally prevailed, he was released from the hospital.
Velez was there, in person this time, cheering by his side as he walked out of the hospital to a parade of cheers.
“I know how it feels to be in the hospital for such a long time and not being able to be with your family,” said Velez.
Together, both Gonzalez and Velez declaring a victory in a battle that almost took their lives.
“God is good, that he can go heal anybody that has faith in him,” said Velez. “I feel so happy that he made it through just like I did.”
“I’m happy to be alive,” said Gonzalez.