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‘The Lord wasn’t done with me yet’: Harlan Co. man arrives home after 75 days in the hospital fighting COVID-19

Published: Oct. 11, 2020 at 9:39 PM EDT
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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - In July, some of Gregg York’s family was diagnosed with COVID-19. They had mild symptoms, except for Gregg.

“It effects everybody different. We didn’t have any of the stuff he’s gone through," said Cathy York, Gregg’s wife.

On July 27, Gregg went to Baptist Health Corbin. Just two days later he was on a ventilator and he got worse quickly. The doctors told Cathy there was nothing they could do for him anymore and he needed to go to another hospital.

“That started the roller coaster," said Cathy.

Gregg was flown to UK Medical Center on August 4. At that point, he was improving, but then got very sick.

“It was hour by hour. He was not responding and they didn’t know they said they had done basically all that they could do. That it was just prayer," said Cathy.

Gregg says he does not remember going to the hospital and has a one month hole where he does not remember anything, but he does remember the doctors saying he would not make it.

“I heard him tell somebody, ‘We’ve done all that we can do,’ and I remember thinking Lord don’t give up on me," said Gregg.

Cathy asked everyone to lift up a prayer for him.

“If it wasn’t for everybody’s prayers and it wasn’t for the good Lord giving us mercy he wouldn’t be here today," she said.

Gregg was on a ventilator for weeks as COVID-19 attacked his nervous system. He had a high fever for more than a month.

“He was too weak to go back on the respirator and he was too weak that they thought that he would just stop breathing but they were still working on him," said Cathy.

He started to improve as they tried many different medications and antibiotics. Gregg was so weak he could not move his arms or legs. He developed three different kinds of pneumonia and neuropathy in in his feet.

“I just never knew when the phone rang what kind of conversation it was gonna be. If they were calling to tell me he wasn’t gonna make it or you know he was gonna be okay," said Cathy.

Cathy said the hardest part of the whole experience was not being allowed in the hospital to see him, as Gregg tested positive for the virus for 60 days.

“They said in one percent of the people that get COVID that this kind of happens to you know it attacked multiple parts of his body," she said.

On September 17, Gregg was moved to Cardinal Hill to start rehab.

“They told me he would be at Cardinal Hill for probably several months and three weeks and he was home," said Cathy.

After 75 days, Gregg returned home Friday with a new perspective on life.

“Just cherish everyday cause you never know. That day I got sick I never dreamed it would be like that cause I’ve never been that sick in my life," said Gregg.

Gregg said he hopes that people hear his story and realize how bad the virus is and to take it seriously.

“People don’t think it’s real but I’m telling you you’d better wear a mask and do what they say cause I’m an example it will it’s real," said Gregg. “Like I said in a split second you can be gone in this world. Best thing to do is be ready and just like I said thank God every morning you get up.”

Gregg has regained movement of his arms and is expected to walk again. The doctors say it is a slow process for the nerves to come back.

He will be on steroids and antibiotics for at least six months.

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