In early April, Aurelio Ramos began having symptoms he had never experienced before.
Initially, he felt a strong pain at the base of his neck, which moved to another area every day, traveling throughout his body. His energy level plummeted and nausea prevented him from eating or drinking. Eventually he started running a high fever.
Ramos works as a lab tech at a hospital, where he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
"When I tested positive," Ramos said, "I said, 'Lord, I can carry this with your help, I'm willing to withstand anything you send me but please don't allow anyone in my family to get sick.'"
After carefully quarantining at home with his wife and two daughters for 12 days, Ramos' condition worsened and he called 9-1-1. He asked the EMTs to take him to the hospital where he works, but Franciscan Health Olympia Fields was the closest.
"I'm so happy I ended up at Franciscan," Ramos said. "The care they gave me was amazing. They all treated me like a member of their own family."
His treatment included oxygen, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. After a few days, he was transferred to the ICU because he couldn't breathe.
"This illness is not easy for the doctors because everything is new and they're still learning a lot about it. Everything they did for me worked," Ramos said.
While hospitalized, Ramos communicated with his family by phone.
"Even though no one from my family was able to come and see me, I felt like I was with my family because all of the people at Franciscan Health came with such love that I never felt I was alone," said Ramos.
He continued, "Dr. Azad gave me hope every single day. All of them did."
Ramos cried tears of joy when he was told he was being discharged from Franciscan Health on April 28, 2020. In early May, he turned 58.
"I felt so blessed because God let me celebrate another birthday," Ramos said.
As Ramos continues to recover at home, he still maintains a safe distance from family members and is following his doctor's advice to rebuild his strength.
His advice to his Chicago Southland neighbors is to follow the guidelines: avoid being close to other people, wear a face mask, don't touch your face, thoroughly and frequently wash hands, and stay home.
By Maria Ramos
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations