Norfolk family suffers lasting effects, financial toll from COVID-19

Local News

NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) – Nebraska continues to see record numbers of virus related hospitalizations. Behind those hospitalizations are Siouxlanders with a story, including Ruth and David of Norfolk.

Ruth Centeno and David Carranza contracted COVID-19 back in July.

Ruth’s symptoms didn’t last long, but after a few days of feeling sick, David was fighting for his life.

“They told me, I think we need to intubate him because his lungs are working so hard, his body needs to rest,” Centeno said.

For 17 days, David remained on a ventilator.

“The doctor had called me and told me, your husband is really sick, he might not make it and he was very blunt about it, there wasn’t any, he just told me he could die. He should have come in sooner,” Centeno added.

Recovering from the virus herself, Ruth said that call was something she wasn’t prepared for.

“I just didn’t know, like, how am I going to raise these kids by myself? What am I going to do? What am I going to tell my kids? They don’t understand what’s going on. They don’t understand that their daddy’s sick in the hospital. They just know daddy’s not home,” Centeno said.

David spent 45 days in the hospital.

When he was released, he couldn’t walk and, although his recovery has begun, some damage remains.

“I have long lasting effects. I woke up I had numbness through my thighs, foot, my head. Currently seeing a foot doctor for surgery to hopefully relieve the numbness on my left foot,” Carranza said.

David suffered permanent nerve damage and attends physical therapy three times a week. Ruth said her taste and smell are still not the same.

On top of the physical and emotional toll, Ruth and David said there’s a financial toll, too.

“The bills don’t stop. Even after you’re healthy and out of the hospital. They just keep coming,” Carranza said.

He adds he has health insurance, but he worries how a half a million dollars in medical bills will affect his family.

“It’s overwhelming. I never thought that going into the E.R. one day and coming out 45 days later. It never crossed my mind how sick I was going to get,” Carranza added.

Both David and Ruth said they had no preexisting health conditions and they encourage everyone to do what they have to, to protect their family from COVID-19.

If you would like to help or donate, a GoFundMe for the family has been set up.

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