Patient gives thanks for his care during his ‘darkest times’

Nov. 18, 2020
Claudia, Ernesto and 18-month Camila. Photo courtesy of Ernesto Castro.
Ernesto Castro, his wife, Claudia and daughter, Camila, after Ernesto returned home from the COVID ICU unit at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies. Photo courtesy of Ernesto Castro.

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.

Covid-19 patient in a wheelchair with two UCHealth nurses standing beside him.
Ernest Castro, center, waits for his ride with registered nurse Melanie Roth, left, and nurse manager Rickie Rump, on Monday, April 30, after spending 10 days at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies battling COVID-19. Photo by Kelly Tracer, UCHealth.

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.”

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.