SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – You hear the number of positive COVID cases, daily, but behind each of those numbers are real people with a story to tell.
Just about everyone has been impacted by COVID 19 in one way or another. For two who tested positive for COVID, it was a life-changing experience.
Retired priest, Father Dennis Meinen, became the 111th COVID 19 patient to be discharged from MercyOne hospital back in May.
“I was going very slow and they clapped for a long time, and I thought, ‘Am I really worth this?’ But I was able to say to all the people thank you to everyone who helped me,” said Meinen.
It was the end of an almost month-long stay at the hospital.
“I was on a special at the hospital for 3 or 4 weeks the COVID floor,” said Meinen.
Meinen tested positive for COVID-19 in April. He said the virus, combined with his multiple sclerosis and age, was cause for concern.
“I think probably ever since 1988 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I think I became a fighter and people never saw me feeling sorry for myself,” said Meinen.
He relied on his doctors and his faith.
“Lord, take this despicable virus away,” said Meinen.
A week into his hospital stay, the respirator was removed, but he said it was still difficult.
“I was a little lonely laying flat on your back having a shot in the stomach to prevent blood clots,” said Meinen.
Meinen left the hospital on May 26.
Sioux City Police Lieutenant Chris Groves was one of nine employees in the department to test positive for COVID-19.
“I consider myself a little bit of a germaphobe. My hands were chapped to the point it hurt to wash them. I mean, I was constantly washing my hands trying not to touch different things, reusing towels, you know, whatever. Just doing everything I could to prevent, and I still contracted the virus,” said Lt. Groves.
Groves was able to recover at home, but he says the symptoms were real and concerning.
“The shortness of breath was the most alarming because obviously you don’t know where that is going to lead. My fever, for the most part, was relatively low grade. It did elevate towards the end. There were some other factors there. I was having some difficulty sleeping; I don’t know what those reasons were but I felt like I just got worn out a bit,” said Groves.
Groves said even though he has antibodies, he remains concerned about his bout with COVID-19.
“Now that I have had it, I keep seeing different results about long term effects which are purely predictions, but you can’t help but start to think about it and stress about what were the long term effects,” said Groves.
Both Father Meinen and Lt. Groves say they hope there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 soon. They would like to see a new normal that more resembles the old normal.