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SD man shares story being hospitalized with COVID-19

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 11:14 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While doctors around the world are trying to figure out exactly how COVID-19 works, it’s safe to say this virus really affects everyone differently, and some times unexpectedly.

John Bjorkman of De Smet South Dakota tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday September 14th. He told us he initially felt alright, but by the weekend, his health started to decline.

“No energy, no drive, no nothing. For me that’s really odd,” said Bjorkman.

Struggling to breathe, he went to the hospital in De Smet on that Sunday and was put on a ventilator.

With no improvement in his blood oxygen levels by Tuesday, Bjorkman says his nurse practitioner called a disease specialist in Sioux Falls.

“They gave him a call and the next thing I heard him say was, 'Well, we don’t have any beds here in Sioux Falls.”

Avera officials say they are working on at-home virtual technology to help open up more space in al it’s hospitals in the system, “We are preventing hospitalizations and allowing increased hospital capacity because of that type of technology that we’ve put in place because of COVID.”

Instead, Bjorkman was emergency airlifted to a hospital in Marshall, MN.

He’s been in the ICU for nearly a week being treated with Remdesivir and plasma.

“The first four days, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until noon I was on 95% oxygen, just fighting for every breath,” said Bjorkman.

He said words can’t fully explain what getting the virus has been like for him, “I thought Tuesday, when they flew me over here, I literally didn’t know, Jenna, if I would see the next day.”

He said it’s difficult to think about the future and the long road to recovery, “It makes me more nervous because, literally, it could be december or January and get out and play with my grandsons. That’s who I miss.”

While the virus can have a different affect on everybody, he wants people to know just how serious this virus can get.

“Anybody that get’s the strain that I have, you better be ready for the fight of your life. It’s almost a death wish. I can see why so many people die from it,” he added

Looking at the near future, Bjorkman is hopeful that if he continues to remain steady in his health, he’ll be able to go home to recover within the next week.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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