In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some good news is coming out of Methodist hospital in Northwest Indiana. Their first patient with the virus was discharged and is now recovering.
Lonta Ash, 46, said he never thought this would happen to him. He considers himself to be a healthy individual who works as a seat builder on the production line of a local seat company.
“I was in a state of shock,” Ash said after becoming the first patient to test positive for COVID-19 at Methodist Hospital's Southlake campus in Merrillville. “I couldn’t believe it and was very frightened. I never thought in a million years it would be this.”
On March 14, Ash said he told his wife to drive him to the emergency room. After testing positive for COVID-19, he spent 16 hours in intensive care and was then transferred to one of the hospital's coronavirus units. He said his case was quickly complicated because he suffers from diabetes and asthma.
“My doctors and nurses were concerned about everything, including my other conditions and told me I made it just in time,” Ash said.
But eventually, Ash began to recover. He was released from the hospital on March 28 and is happy to be home with his wife and son, though they are sleeping in separate rooms until he fully recovers.
“There were times that I didn’t think it would happen, but I made it," Ash said.
Ash is now sleeping with oxygen at night and slowly getting better. He knows he wouldn't have gotten to this point if it wasn't for the care of the medical staff at Methodist Hospital.
“All the nurses were great,” he said. “They were really on it. I appreciate all the people who helped me and were there for me – I had people who care."
His advice to others is to take the pandemic seriously and stay home.
“This is scary because you see it on the news, but you don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” he said.
Now he's looking forward to get back to work and getting back to his normal self.