By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – As coronavirus cases rise in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to the pandemic. This week he invited three COVID-19 survivors to share how the virus has impacted their lives.

Barbara Gould of Boulder was first to share her story on Tuesday. Wearing her oxygen, she expressed why she feels lucky to be alive.

Barbara Gould (credit: CBS)

“I was in the hospital for 91 days. I was on a ventilator for 65 days… and I was on ECMO for 15 days of those 65 days,” she said, adding ECMO is like a life-support machine.

Gould said she was hospitalized in early April, believing she got sick following a flight home from Atlanta before restrictions were in place. She said a passenger sitting behind her was coughing the entire flight. Her husband was the first to get the virus, she said, then she developed a cough.

“After three days it became clear I wasn’t improving, and I had to be intubated,” Gould said. “My lungs felt like concrete.”

She eventually had to be airlifted UCHealth where she was put on an ECMO machine. Gould didn’t think she would make it.

“My husband had to have my living will in front of him at all times,” she said.

The coronavirus has taken a nasty toll on Gould. She said she was a healthy, active person pre-COVID, but now is struggling with scarred lungs, liver damage, weakened muscles, even significant hair loss.

“I don’t even recognize myself,” she said.

Watch Gould tell her full story in the video below:

Kim Powell, a young nurse practitioner in Denver, also shared how her COVID-19 diagnosis has changed her life.

“I was essentially plucked from life,” she said. “It’s affected every organ system in my body and every person in my life.”

Powell explained she has always had excellent health, has never been a smoker and is an avid runner. But in late May that all changed — she was hospitalized with the virus, unable to breathe.

“I was lucky I was only an inpatient for two nights,” she said.

Kim Powell (credit: CBS)

Continuing her care at home, Powell said she battled continuous headaches, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and lost 20 pounds. She is still dealing with the side effects of coronavirus to this day.

“Today anything more than a slow walk to the mailbox requires oxygen, and I haven’t been able to do many of the things that used to bring me joy,” Powell said. “I can’t run. I can’t go to the mountains. I haven’t regained the stamina or my grip, to be able to play my drums again.”

It is a similar story for Clarence Troutman, a 59-year-old broadband technician. He first started showing symptoms at the end of March.

“At first I thought it was just a bad cold or flu. It got worse and worse and worse,” he said. “So, by April 4, I had a fever and it just wouldn’t go away, and I couldn’t breathe. That’s one of the worst feelings in the world.”

He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he said he recalls having to empty his pockets in the emergency room and staff talking to his wife.

“The next thing I can remember is waking up, I think it was 27 or 28 days later, in the ICU,” Troutman explained, adding he’d been intubated for some time and was in a coma.

Clarence Troutman (credit: CBS)

“The nurses asked me, ‘Do you know where you are and what’s going on?’ and I told her, ‘Well, no,’” he said. “All I could see was a dark room with some windows shuttered and a bunch of people around me with them machines beeping. She told me, ‘You’re at UCHealth, been here for a month and tested positive for COVID-19.’ I cried for maybe 10 minutes.”

Troutman added he spent another week re-learning how to eat, walk and talk. He said he couldn’t really speak for the first week to 10 days after he woke up, and was fortunately moved to a rehab center.

“They really worked wonders on me,” he said. “I cannot commend the people at UCHealth enough.”

All three survivors said they are extremely grateful for the doctors, nurses and medical staff who treated them and continue to face an uphill battle against coronavirus. Each also expressed their gratitude to be alive today and encouraged everyone to take the virus seriously.

“When I hear people say that this isn’t real or it’s just a bad cold or a flu or even that it’s a hoax, I find that very disturbing,” Troutman said. “It’s 100% real and we can’t do too much to be safe and protect ourselves and protect those around it. When you go through this, it’s not just you. It’s everyone around you that you love and love you.”

Kelly Werthmann

Comments (11)
  1. D oldtimer says:

    This article will someday be required study as the definition of propaganda used br declining governments to control populations and society. The people and organizations behind this type of lies have an agenda thart that leads to poverty, socialism, and from there the inevitable slide into civi war and tyranny.

  2. Gary H says:

    I have about 25 close friends who have come down with the virus along with my sister and my daughter ranging in age from 30 to 78. All were sick for about 7 days and recovered without any lingering effects except fatigue that continued for 14 to 30 days afterward. All returned to work after the appropriate recovery period. Only one is having a lingering complications and she is 78 and has other serious pre-existing health issues (a chronic liver condition and diabetes). It is a disease that we do not need to live in abject fear of. Just take some precautions especially if you have underlying health issues. The fear tactics used by certain politicians are unwarranted in my mind.

  3. Funky Winkerbean says:

    Yeah, but ya know how many of these “horrifically” infected cases dies? Zero. None. Zilch. Oh NO! Someone caught covid and got … sick?!? . Using a senior citizen (the most vulnerable population) that had an extreme outlier case is hardly reason enough to shutter society and the economy again?!? This whole story is an obvious pluck at the heart strings instead of a reasoned review of data and facts.

  4. Julianna Martin says:

    We need to legislate for all the outliers!

  5. johnnybkay says:

    More propaganda to keep alive the fake coronavirus “pandemic”.

    The starting point for knowing the truth is to believe the opposite of what the government and the corporate media tell us. More propaganda to keep alive the fake coronavirus “pandemic”.

    According to numerous studies and the government’s own data, at least 98% of those who have the coronavirus are asymptomatic — they have no symptoms. They are not sick.

    The vast majority of the rest have minor symptoms. Only a very small percentage of the remaining group — almost all of whom have pre-existing co-morbidity factors such as asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes, or morbid obesity — have severe symptoms. Only a very small percentage of that group actually die.

    In terms of its real effect, COVID-19 is like a mild flu — a very mild flu.

    The coronavirus “pandemic” is a fraud — an invisible, all-purpose enemy to which the government can attribute any dangers it wants to frighten and control us.

    The international corporate elite that runs things behind the scenes has taken an illness no more dangerous than the common flu (and probably far less so) and turned it into an excuse for an enormous expansion of government power and an enormous redistribution of resources — literally, trillions of dollars — from the citizens to the corporate elite.

    To promote this false narrative the international corporate elite has used every organization under its control — which is to say, every organization of consequence.

    There is no legitimacy to any of it. The masks, the “social distancing”, the “social bubbles”, the “self-isolation”, the “self-quarantining”, the “contact tracing”, the “flattening the curve”, the “alone together”, the shutdowns, the lockdowns, the push for vaccination, the push for testing, the bans on assemblies and large groups, the restrictions on churches and prayer groups — none of that is to keep us safe, but all of it is to condition us to accept more government control, more arbitrary regimentation, more transfers of taxpayer money to the corporate elite, and mandatory vaccination.

    We have been lied to from the beginning. News reports of overworked doctors, overflowing morgues, crowded hospitals, crowded ICUs, emergency rooms inundated with thousands of COVID-19 patients, racing ambulances full of COVID-19 patients, mass graves, and refrigerated trucks full of bodies are contradicted by numerous videos of empty hospitals, empty waiting rooms, empty “testing centers”, and parked ambulances in the alleged “epicenters” of the pandemic.

    The coronavirus charade is no different from previous virus panics — SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, Zika — only now the people at the top think we are divided enough, stupid enough, and weak enough to submit to a massive acceleration of the ongoing transfer of power and wealth from us to them. Sadly, it appears that they are correct.

    Too many of us still believe — despite overwhelming historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary — that the government and the corporate media do not lie, especially about the big things. In reality, the government and the corporate media lie about everything — especially about the big things.

    1. True says:

      Excellent comment.

  6. Glenn Sonne says:

    Sad to see 3 people generate fear in what was previously a strong and brave pioneering state. Colorado, the state of fear

  7. Joe says:

    Typical “the sky is falling” propoganda from the socialist governor…..why doesn’t he present both sides…like the OVERWHELMING number of people who recover from covid with very minor symptoms… oh wait, that wouldn’t be like a liberal to present both sides of the story. And, channel 4 should be ashamed to present this clearly biased information…..

    1. Joshua says:

      It has a 95% non-death rate, and a around 80% fully recovery rate. That still means more than half the total deaths in WW2 happened in 6 months, and three times that many have been injured by it.

      Is that better?

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