Broomfield Hospital COVID-19 rehab patient starts day with ‘most wonderful hugs’

Nov. 21, 2020
Dan Michalec
UCHealth staff celebrate as Dan Michalec leaves UCHealth Broomfield Hospital. Photo: UCHealth.

Dan Michalec was training for a half marathon earlier this year, but his plans quickly changed when he fell ill with COVID-19 in early March. He was admitted to the ICU at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in mid-April, and he continued his recovery when he was transferred to UCHealth Broomfield Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation.

Michalec did not see his family for nearly nine weeks – but they were all able to celebrate being together again when he was discharged on Mother’s Day. At the time, he realized he was then running a different race – a race for his life. While he continues physical therapy as part of his recovery, he recently began running again. This summer, he had a chance to go fly fishing.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how so many of you willingly took time away from your family so that I can now spend time with mine,” Michalec said. “If I had been given the opportunity to handpick my own team to help guide me through the darkest of times, it would never have been as good as the team of professionals that provided the incredible care for me at UCHealth.”

“When I was in the hospital, I used to spend my time gazing out the window, daydreaming about things like running, cycling and hiking through all the beautiful sites that Colorado has to offer. I had been away for so long that I was starting to struggle when recalling how it felt to hug my family. Because of all the kind, compassionate, professional caregivers at UCHealth, I am once again able to begin realizing those dreams and most importantly, able to start each day with the most wonderful hugs ever!”