indiana coronavirus

‘Walking Miracle' Indiana Man Shares COVID-19 Survival Story

"I thought I had the flu or something or pneumonia and they diagnosed me with the coronavirus"

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A man from Indiana spent 231 days battling the coronavirus and trying to regain his ability to walk, talk and eat on his own again. Doctors told the family of 74-year-old Armanda Blanco that it’s a miracle he’s alive.

Video taken from his hospital bed in March shows Blanco at his darkest hour.

“I just didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said.

The Vietnam War veteran thought he came down with the flu, but it turned out to be the coronavirus.

“You know I was just fortunate that I survived this,” he said.

Blanco spent 55 days at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. 30 of those days were on a ventilator. He was in an induced coma.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I said, wow, time went by so fast and I didn’t know I was that sick.”

Family said Blanco, who suffers from asthma, eventually lost his ability to walk, talk and eat.

“My dad received his late rites—you know they called and said we have to give your dad his last rites,” Nancy Eickleberry, Blanco’s daughter, said.

Eickleberry and her family had to make arrangements for his funeral.

“In my dad's weakest hour the only way he could communicate with us,” she said. “I asked my dad, 'you want to continue fighting,' I was like 'raise your eyebrows' and he raised his eyebrows.”

Doctors took her dad off the ventilator and administered a tracheostomy.

“Everyday his lungs got better. Everyday it was a roller coaster,” she said. “He is a living miracle. My dad is a living miracle and the doctors would tell us he’s a living miracle.”

Eickleberry said her dad regained his strength day by day and by the grace of God he was released from the hospital in May. Since then he has completed months of therapy and rehab and recently had his feeding tube removed.

“I was fortunate that I had some good people watching me,” Blanco said.

Blanco is sharing his story to warn others to take the virus seriously. He’s not sure how he contracted the virus, but said he is thankful to the doctors, nurses, and therapists who helped him to get better.

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