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Vietnam veteran returns home after battling COVID-19 for months

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He's been through the Vietnam war, but now, a Tri-State veteran is back home after what he calls the scariest time of his life after spending almost the last six months fighting covid-19.

A 1959 Chevy rolled back into Donnellson, Iowa Friday night.

A COVID-19 survivor was inside.

"I didn't think we'd ever make it to this point, we were pretty far down," Gerald Krogmeier said. "But, we made it."

Vietnam war veteran, Krogmeier spent the past five months in the hospital battling COVID-19.

"Three months ago, I couldn't walk, couldn't talk, couldn't feed myself, Krogmeier said.

His wife, Kim Krogmeier said he was admitted into the hospital in April, after feeling sick.

"They called me in the morning, told me they put him on a ventilator and that I should just hope for the best," Kim said.

It was the start of a six-month long journey that was nothing like the past four decades they've spent together.

"Every time the phone would ring, I thought the worst news you could possibly ever get," Kim said. "Being married 45 years, that would be really hard."

It wasn't until last week, when Kim said she received news that he was off the ventilator and could come home.

"Today was about the first time in three months I could actually touch him," Kim said.

"I don't think you can put words on it," Gerald said. "It was hard that we couldn't touch one another. We talked on the phone, through a window."

Gerald spent 30 days on a ventilator and later had a tracheotomy. He was rarely able to see visitors.

"The two doctors that took care of me, they were glad to hear my voice because they thought they'd never hear me talk again," Gerald said.

Now back at home, a long road to recovery begins.

One that Gerald and Kim said, they will cherish every day.

"It ended up with a happy ending," Gerald said. "We're not to the end of it, but it looks better than it did six months ago."

"I know one thing, you have to cherish life," Kim said. "It's very precious."

Kim said while she felt no symptoms and was never given a nasal swab COVID test, her blood test did show that she had antibodies.

For Gerald, he will continue therapy to walk, eat and talk again.

The couple urges people to take COVID-19 seriously, as they said it can take a toll on anyone.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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