How I Survived COVID-19

In late December 2020, I tested positive for COVID 19. (I don’t know how I caught it because I was doing everything we were told to do to avoid it.) I was hospitalized in Methodist Hospital for three weeks. I was in the ICU for two weeks and was one day away from having to be put on a ventilator when I started to improve. The doctors and nurses that took care of me said that they had no doubt that the weight loss and the personal training I had been doing the previous years was the reason I survived. In short, if I had not been working out, I wouldn’t have walked out of the hospital. Well, maybe my inherent stubbornness had something to do with it too. I was discharged from the hospital January 12, 2021.

​So how did I get here?

​In 2017, my wife and I sold our cattle feeding and farming operation in northeastern Nebraska where we had lived for 47 years and where I had lived and worked for my entire life except for the time I spent in the U.S. Army. We purchased an acreage south of Elkhorn, Nebraska. We planned to live there and enjoy our daughters and their families who lived in Omaha and Lincoln. On January 3, 2018, my wife was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive and incurable form of leukemia. She spent the next two months in the Methodist Hospital and died in March 2018.

After moving to our Elkhorn acreage, I was unhappy about the weight I had gained from spending a lot of time on the road between the farm and the new acreage, from the stress of selling the feeding and farming operation and, later on, from my wife’s illness and hospitalization. I was six feet tall and weighed 250 pounds. After reading an article in the Omaha _World Herald_about a woman who had good luck getting in better shape at a west Omaha gym, I joined that gym to attempt to lose weight and combat stress. It was just barely OK. The gym had small groups of 6-8 people and trainers that were trying but not succeeding. It wasn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t getting better, wasn’t losing weight. That studio closed in March 2018.

At that point, my daughter started searching online for another west Omaha fitness program for me and found Kerry and his team of personal trainers, located very close to my old gym. I went there and talked to Kerry. I had an evaluation and started private, one-on-one personal training with Roland twice a week. After a time, I changed to one-on-one personal training three times a week. By the end of 2018, I had lost 40 pounds, increased my flexibility greatly, increased the strength in my core, arms and legs and also increased my cardio capacity. I continued in that regimen through 2019 and 2020, working Roland and with other personal trainers too. Then, I caught COVID –19.

In my 2020-2021 recovery from COVID -19, the doctors and I agreed that it was my losing those 40 extra pounds plus my regular workouts that permitted me to avoid a ventilator and to get out of the hospital. Even so, when I was discharged, I was still on oxygen for about six weeks. As soon as I was able, I started training again with Roland and team but on a limited basis. But, it wasn’t till September 2021 that I felt normal again. I am fortunate that I don’t have any lingering effects from COVID and have full lung function again.

I continue to train with Kerry, Roland and team. Recently, the studio changed its name to Next Step Fitness but my trainers are the same and I like my program.

​I will be 75 on August 1. I am maintaining a steady weight of 210 pounds. I walk 3-4 miles a day and lift weights on the days I don’t train because I can’t expect the trainers to do everything with three days a week. I really understand that controlling my weight and keeping fit is key to my survival. COVID-19 proved that to me.

In short, exercising with Next Step Fitness changed my life – and likely saved my life.


May 2022