Otsego Co. EMS/Rescue Tech Returns Home After 3 Month Battle with COVID-19

"I hope no one has to go through that, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy."

The Otsego County EMS/Rescue team was hit hard by the coronavirus.

In total, eight members tested positive with two facing months long hospital stays.

Everyone is home now, and on their road to recovery. 07 08 2020 Otsego Co Ems Recovery Pkg 6

The last COVID-19 positive member came home just last week after three months recovering.

“That was it for me for a month and a half, I don’t remember anything,” said Otsego County Rescue Tech Doug Galer.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Doug was soon rushed to the hospital, and then put on a ventilator.

For the next month and a half, his wife Kellie would check on him twice a day.

“It was extremely difficult, but our faith got us through,” said Doug’s wife Kellie. “I didn’t know when he was coming home, or to be honest with you, if he was coming home.”

After two months, Doug was released from the hospital, but that was just the start of his recovery.

“He was extremely debilitated, he had really be through a lot medically,” said Mary Free Bed Rehab Physician Dr. Chris Rizik.

Dr. Rizik was a part of Doug’s rehab team at Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids.

“Doug was really a special case, a special patient just because of how dedicated he was, how much of a positive attitude he had,” Dr. Rizik said. “It was really motivating for everyone that took care of him.”

Through physical, occupational and speech therapy, Doug’s team helped him learn to swallow again, gain his strength and walk.

“When we got down there, I could only walk four steps and they just kept pushing,” Doug said. “I’m like and I can do this, and I’m going to show them I can do more than what they think I can do.”

Doug and Kellie credit Munson Healthcare for saving his life, and Mary Free Bed for helping get his life back.

“I don’t know how to put it in words how amazing everyone is down there,” Kellie said. “Our Mary Free Bed experience is something I’ll never forget, we are very lucky and very blessed.”

They hope sharing their story will help people realize just how serious this virus is.

“I hope no one has to go through that, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” Doug said.

He is back home in Gaylord completing physical therapy there. He is hoping to one day return to work.

“It’s going to take a little time, but I got to do it, I love my job,” Doug said.

Categories: Coronavirus