During the week of March 16, Alvin Mojica’s wife, Arleen, noticed he seemed a little sluggish.
Alvin remembers having a mild case of the chills on that Thursday night, but he felt better the next day. However, his condition worsened over the weekend, with body aches and a cough. The 54-year-old Colts Neck resident wondered if it could be COVID-19.
That Sunday, Alvin was so weak that he collapsed to the floor, with a temperature of 100.5 degrees.
“I felt like I was struggling for air, and I knew something had taken a turn,” he says, adding that he had no known underlying conditions.
His wife quickly drove him to CentraState’s Emergency Department. He was admitted to the medical center with a 103-degree fever and a blood oxygen level that was lower than normal. Alvin was tested for COVID-19, and the CentraState team sprang into action as they awaited the results that later confirmed the diagnosis.
As Alvin’s oxygen levels continued to drop, he learned he would need to be intubated, a process that opens the airway to make breathing easier for a patient who requires ventilator care.
“The possibility that I wouldn’t live came to me,” says Alvin, his voice filling with emotion. He had a difficult conversation with his wife, fearing the worst.
Fighting the Unknown
Once he was intubated, Alvin’s care team determined he would be a good candidate for remdesivir, an antiviral medication.
“We know now from studies and trials that remdesivir has a 31% faster time to recovery than those who received a placebo; the median time to recovery is 11 days in those treated with remdesivir compared to 15 days for those who received a placebo,” says Ramanasri Kudipudi, MD, a board-certified infectious disease specialist at CentraState who managed Alvin’s care.
After Alvin received emergency approval to begin the medication, his condition improved significantly within 48 hours, and he was able to come off of the ventilator a week after his admission into the hospital.
Surrounded By Support
Alvin awoke to hundreds of messages from loved ones filled with prayers and best wishes, which bolstered his determination to get back home.
He credits his care team for helping him achieve his goal. His nurses, respiratory therapists, and doctors encouraged him as he was transferred out of the Critical Care Unit and weaned off the ventilator. A physical therapist helped Alvin regain mobility. And his family and friends supported him from afar, including his neighbor Amit Kharod, MD, chief of surgery at CentraState.
“You realize how much the people around you care,” adds Alvin. “Everyone at the hospital was amazing. I thanked the nurses one by one.”
Alvin was discharged on April 4, and has since recovered from this life-changing ordeal.
“Now, it’s tough to have a bad day; it’s a joy to wake up every morning,” says Alvin. “I always knew life was a blessing and I believe it even more now.”
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