As 34-year-old Ernesto Castro lay in the Intensive Care Unit at Medical Center of the Rockies with COVID-19, there were many times he thought he would not live to see his wife and two children.
“I was scared,” Castro said. “But I was comforted by a lot of the RNs. They were very engaging and they’d talk to me, assuring me that things were going to be OK.”
Castro arrived at UCHealth Greeley Hospital in mid-March but when his condition began to rapidly deteriorate, he was taken to MCR where he spent the next 10 days in the ICU.
“I can’t stress enough the amazing job they all did with me,” he said. “As soon as I walked in, I felt that they cared. They truly do love what they do and have a passion for it.”
At MCR, Castro was placed in a medically-induced coma while doctors and nurses fought to save his life.
“They’d walk in, and I could remember their eyes and their voices,” he said. “A lot of RNs took care of me but I remember Cherokee and Melanie being real heroes. These people dealt with me in my darkest time.
“I want to thank every last person there. … I just really appreciate everyone. If it wasn’t for the staff, I don’t think I’d be here. They are so multitalented, good-natured and so kind. I wish I could go in there now and thank every single person personally, but I know that’s not possible right now.’’
Castro thanks the staff for helping him, not just physically but mentally and emotionally.
“You spoke with me and some even prayed with me. I’ve never been in a facility like that and it gave me a really warm feeling that I’ll never stop thinking of you guys,” he said.
Castro spent two weeks in the hospital before he was reunited with his wife and 18-month-old daughter outside the hospital. They celebrated Castro’s 35th birthday together at home.
“I’m so glad that the people at UCHealth helped me make my dream come true,” he said. “You guys are godsends.”
Castro is back at work as a social worker for a health clinic in Greeley, and helping to care for people, including many who are stressed out by COVID-19.
“I try to do my part,” he said. “I wasn’t part of the front line (in the spring) because I was being cared for, but now I am. I do what I can to take some of the load from them. We are all scared, but we keep pushing.”