FARGO — For 63-year-old Paul Ivesdal, a farmer from Edmore, N.D., fighting COVID-19 was like being in a horror movie.
Ivesdal has asthma and diabetes, and had a procedure that removed 15% of one of his lungs, which makes fighting the disease even more difficult.
Two months ago, Ivesdal started feeling sick and his temperature kept rising. He went to the hospital in nearby Langdon, N.D., where his oxygen levels had dropped to dangerous lows. He was then rushed to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.
"I can just remember the doctor asking me if I wanted to go on a ventilator, and I gave him permission to do it," Ivesdal recalled.
That was the last thing he remembered until waking up nine days later. He had been on a ventilator during that time, and his kidneys nearly failed.
"I was pretty messed up for that first week or so; I had a little bit of arm strength; that's about it," Ivesdal explained.
All his muscular strength was depleted and he could barely move. He couldn't walk on his own for nearly two months.
"The last thing I remembered was I didn't really think I was going to make it," Ivesdal said. "It's been a long road."
Ivesdal has been working hard every day to rehab his body, and while he isn't quite at 100%, he is making slow but steady progress. He will finally get to leave the hospital on Thursday, May 21. He'll continue his rehab at his lake house in Detroit Lakes, Minn., with his wife, whom he's only seen once in 60 days.
"I'm gaining strength again. I've been working out. I can move my feet up about 6 inches. Before, I couldn't even lift them (...) at all. I don't think I can climb into a tractor yet, but l hope to be recovered by harvest," Ivesdal said.