After eight weeks as a patient at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, Al Luray of Bellevue can finally go home.
As of May 19, Luray’s was the longest stay at St. Luke’s Magic Valley that is COVID-19-related.
“You are beyond great,” he told the team as he was discharged to the cheers of staff members, who saw him off with a T-shirt bearing the word “hope” on the front.
“I attribute all of my success to you guys.”
What was he looking forward to the most?
“Spending a few minutes with my wife,” he said.
“Other than that, I have four dogs at home who I love dearly, and seeing my house. I love my house. And being able to just be home and take advantage of the things I have there, and working towards getting back to a normal situation.”
His COVID story begins March 19.
“I just felt terrible,” Luray recalled. “I had gone for some time just feeling, ‘Where has all of my energy gone?’
“I don’t know if that was a pre-cursor or what, but I had no energy, no strength. And, I think I don’t remember the day of the week, we were having dinner and I felt like I was going to throw up.”
He went to St. Luke’s Wood River and was there for a few days. He returned home, but his symptoms worsened, and he went back to the hospital. Luray was transferred to St. Luke’s Magic Valley on March 24.
“I don’t remember where I was at that time,” Luray said. “I eventually went to the ICU and was on the ventilator for eight or nine days, maybe 10 days – I’m really not sure. I was intubated for some time.”
He was moved to the IMCU and then then spent two weeks in the inpatient rehabilitation unit.
“They are amazing,” he said. “They got me to do things I didn’t think I was capable of.”
Luray knows there’s lots of healing and rebuilding to be done.
“I still need a lot of help. I can’t walk without my walker,” he said. “I’ve lost 30 pounds. A good bit of that is obviously muscle.
“Having said that, I’m going to get better. No question about it.”
Luray doesn’t know where he contracted the virus. He does know it’s serious – and he wants to share that message with others.
“I don’t wish it on anybody,” he said. “I watch television and I see these people running around, gathering together in large groups, mainly young kids who think they are invincible.
“This is something that you don’t want to deal with. Trust me.”
Throughout his lengthy journey with COVID-19, some things became especially clear.
“When you’re in here for eight weeks, you either find your faith, renew your faith or continue your faith,” Luray observed. “Anybody that doesn’t do that is missing a big portion of getting better, in my opinion.”
Also clear: the care and compassion he received.
“The doctors here are beyond sensational,” Luray said. “There is no question they, along with their fabulous staff which all-together function like a well-oiled machine, saved my life.”
Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.