WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Thursday marked the first time Kevin McNamara hugged his kids in six months.
His family counted every, single day he was away. 174.
There were so many days when loved ones wondered if this day would ever come, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.
Alyssa Applebaum, McNamara’s fiancée, was always sure he would kick COVID-19.
“For you to know who Kevin McNamara is, you know that he was gonna have this moment. You know it, that’s who he is,” Applebaum said.
Nobody would have blamed her if she did lose hope.
McNamara, a lawyer from Avon, NJ, spent 90 days – including his 60th birthday in April – on a ventilator.
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“Did you realize along the way how sick you were?” Layton asked McNamara.
“No, I really didn’t. I though I was gonna go in there, take a couple puffs from the ventilator and be on my way. I didn’t realize it was gonna be such an ordeal,” McNamara said.
He was treated at three hospitals before spending six weeks at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – working hard to regain strength and the basics of life.
McNamara, who was running four miles a day in March, is learning to walk again.
He had to learn how to talk again, too.
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“He was really able to make a huge, tremendous comeback,” said Danielle Diessner, a speech language pathologist.
“He still has a ways to go from a therapy standpoint,” said Dr. Jeremiah Nieves, a rehabilitation specialist, who believes McNamara will regain his pre-COVID health.
McNamara heads home knowing there is still a lot of intense therapy ahead. But, now he can do it with family right next to him.
“It’s been six months so, there’s a lot to do,” said Bridget McNamara, his daughter.
“I just can’t wait for him to come to my football games,” said Cole McNamara, his son.
“I’m just excited to wake up in the morning and have morning coffee… do everything together like we used to,” Applebaum said.
“I just want to also say thank you to my family and friends. I wouldn’t be here without you,” McNamara said.
The couple may not have gotten married in August as planned, but they already know they’ll be at each other’s side in sickness and in health.
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