DALLAS - A Dallas man spent six weeks in medical facilities fighting COVID-19 right after receiving a kidney transplant.
It was a battle he barely survived.
Doctors told Severo Perez he should be dead, as his body struggled to not to reject the new kidney while also struggling to fight a novel coronavirus.
“I get pretty emotional sometimes,” Severo recalled.
He has reason to be emotional.
Known by everybody as Mr. Perez, he spent years pouring into teaching young lives in the Law Magnet at Townview.
At the same time, he was a dialysis patient for nine years.
He got a call on March 28 about a kidney transplant, which would give him a new lease on life.
“Everything was really good until May 30,” his wife, Sandra Perez, recalled.
“He just got sick. I couldn’t breathe,” the two, who have been married for 36 years, recalled.
Paramedics rushed him to the hospital.
“They induced a medically induced coma on me so they could put a ventilator on me,” Severo said. “And they did COVID test there. It was negative, but then I became positive when they sent me to rehab. I became positive.”
And in a fight for his life.
Doctors told him that the anti-rejection drugs he was taking after the kidney transplant saved him.
For 46 days, from May 13 to July 15, Severo was in a hospital or rehab center trying to overcome COVID-19.
“When I was released on July the 15th, I was still positive, so I came home and I still had to quarantine myself for 14 more days,” Severo recalled.
And he feels much better now.
“I went and tested myself, I was negative. I don't have no symptoms whatsoever,” he said. “I have no coughing. I just feel great.”
He’s grateful and acutely aware that COVID-19 almost canceled the new lease on life the transplant gave him.
“When you have the doctors tell you that you should be dead, it’s amazing,” he added.
Severo is doing well now, and on the road to full recovery.
He thanks everyone who prayed for him while going through his ordeal.
The kidney he received came from a deceased donor, and when pandemic restrictions let up, he said he'll get to meet the donor’s family.