LANSING, Mich. — COVID-19 survivor Nolan Ostrowski said the disease "hit me like a baseball bat."
Ostrowski was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of July. It was a very bad case.
"I think that once it attacked me and I started really getting sick, I kind of lost a little bit of reality — what was exactly going on," Ostrowski said.
He spent one week at Sparrow Hospital before being airlifted to Lutheran Hospital in Indiana, where he stayed for about two months.
"I think that it really knocked me down so hard that there was nothing that would save me unless there was some kind of intervention," Ostrowski said.
He believes there was.
At the beginning of his stay at Sparrow, Ostrowski said he had an unusual visitor in the middle of the night, "an old guy with skinny legs and a brown robe."
At first, Ostrowski, a parishioner at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Eaton Rapids, thought it was his guardian angel.
"I couldn't turn my head. I couldn't look over to see who it was. So, I could only see his legs. He was at the head of my bed. Then, the next night, he came again, and this time he was three seats from the end of my bed from the foot-board. He was sitting there and he looked over at me and kind of took in the hospital bed and me in it and my physical condition is what it looked like, like he had given me a once-over, and then, sat straight forward and just kind of looked ahead," Ostrowski recalled.
He now believes it was the Blessed Solanus Casey, the late Detroit priest, because the second day Ostrowski was visited was July 30, Casey's Catholic feast day.
According to David Kerr, Diocese of Lansing director of communications, Casey was known for working miracles.
"Blessed Solanus Casey was originally from Wisconsin but he's most notably remarked in terms of his clerical career as being a Franciscan friar and priest in Detroit," Kerr said. "During his life, many miracles were ascribed to the intervention of Father Solanus Casey, and so therefore we shouldn't be too surprised that Blessed Solanus Casey continues to shower favors from heaven upon those who continue to ask for his blessing and his intersession."
Ostrowski said it was like he knew he had to be awake for what was going to happen.
"Because I felt a lot of despair. This dark redness came over me — it'd come over the room," Ostrowski said. "So, the first night I said, 'Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God, my savior,' and it stopped...And then the second night I started to pray...I did that, I kind of realized that he was somebody special. It wasn't just my guardian angel."
At first, the father of three felt scared.,
"I started talking and I said, 'My kids. There's a lot of things I haven't done with my kids.' I said, 'I've only taken my son driving one time,'" Ostrowski said.
But, the man wouldn't look at him. Ostrowski began bargaining.
"So I said, 'If you can get me out of this, if you can spare my life,' I said, 'I'll never use God's name in vain again,'" Ostrowski said. "He jumped up, and he ran around the side of my bed...I lifted my arm a little bit and he touched me underneath my armpit and then at the bottom of my rib cage on my left side."
He could feel the man's touch and the despair slip away.
"I felt like, well, I was saved," Ostrowski said.
Casey was declared "blessed" by the Catholic Church in 2017 at a grand ceremony in Detroit.
"He is one miracle away from being declared by the Vatican Saint Solanus Casey," Kerr said.
Though the Vatican does not count Ostrowski's experience as an official miracle from Casey, Ostrowski definitely does.
"You know you wonder, 'Well why was I saved? Why did he come see me?'" Ostrowski said. "Regardless of what other people think of what I saw, what happened to me, they can doubt all they want."
In a statement to FOX 47 News, Karen Kent VanGorder, M.D., Sparrow's Chief Medical and Quality Officer wrote, “We actively participate in spiritual healing for our patients and offer them many resources. We are delighted the patient made a full recovery.
"Sparrow as an entity and I as CMO would never discount spirituality in healing," she added. "I as a doctor have seen spiritual health play a factor in patients recovering or not recovering."