NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Keith Woo is a 58-year-old real estate broker who started having COVID-19 symptoms in early March.
“It started out as just a dry cough, he said.
This was early on, before the city shutdown, and Keith was not showing one of the main symptoms – no fever at all, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
But as drive-thru testing started, it was getting harder for Keith to breathe. He lost his appetite and sense of taste.
He says he called the testing hotline but said he got this response: “You don’t sound that serious, you don’t know anyone who has it, you didn’t travel, so just quarantine.”
It got really hard for him to breathe, and he was so weak he could barely walk, so he went to the emergency room at Lenox Hill Hospital.
He tested positive for COVID-19 and was told he needed to be intubated and put on a ventilator.
“It was scary,” said Woo. “I felt like death was calling.”
He was hospitalized for two weeks with three days on a ventilator and then to ICU before he finally made it to a regular hospital room.
“Everything I read was scary, one statistic had 88% of people intubated don’t make it out,” he said. “That was so scary, I’m glad I didn’t know that going in.”
Doctors and nurses told him staying positive would really help. He shared the hospital room with another patient who prayed for him every day.
“The first prayer he said hit home, had me in tears almost, so yeah I think that helps,” he said.
After two weeks at Lenox Hill, he was transferred to the Javits Center field hospital for another two and a half weeks, and was finally released on April 23.
Looking back, a lot of things went through Keith Woo’s mind.
“Lots of things, thankful to be alive, that’s the main thing,” he said.
Woo had lost about 25 pounds. Right now has 60% lung capacity and needs oxygen he can carry with him. Before this, he had no health issues.
“This thing is no joke, it can hit anybody,” said Woo.
He says life is too short and he won’t be getting wrapped up in the little things.
“I would get into Facebook arguments with people about politics and get upset doing it,” he said. “Now I’m like taking a step back.”
He says he’ll focus on helping the doctors, nurses and frontline workers who saved his life.