12 days on a ventilator. 3 weeks in the ICU. And a 79-year-old who beat COVID-19′s odds

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 5:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Paul Greenslade would like to forget his ordeal with coronavirus.

But he can’t.

On March 24, the 79-year-old visitor from the United Kingdom was rushed by ambulance to the Straub Medical Center with a severe case of COVID-19.

“They said, ‘You were were very low on oxygen. Dangerously low.’ And then I had pneumonia on top of it all,” he said.

Doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma and connected him to a ventilator.

He was in intensive care for 15 days.

His wife, Karen, said it was touch-and-go.

“He didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “I just didn’t think I’d ever see him again. That’s what the doctors led me to believe. it was terrible.”

Greenslade’s age put him deep into the danger zone for coronavirus patients. The CDC said eight of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are people 65 or older.

"They were either going to save me or not. And they did," Greenslade said, fighting back tears.

He remembers coming to briefly and seeing tubes and restraints, but everything else is a blur.

"He was in the hospital three weeks and he was on the ventilator for 12 days," Karen said.

On Friday, the ordeal finally ended. The staff at Straub lined the hallway and applauded as Greenslade was discharged.

"Just so so thankful, so so thankful to them," Karen said.

The Greenslades have children and grandchildren and a new appreciation for the days ahead.

"How do you make the most of your life? It's a big question and it's not an easy one to answer," Greenslade said.

Thankfully, he has the rest of his life to figure it out.

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