MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — A COVID-19 and Pneumonia patient from Muskegon Heights didn't think he would make it out of the hospital, but after weeks of rehabilitation, he is home.
During the four weeks at Mary Free Bed as a COVID-19 patient, Bobbie Patton kept pushing.
"In my mind, this was my only chance," Patton said. "And I had an opportunity, I was going to take advantage of it."
He's been overcoming health challenges that started in his 20's.
"I woke up on a ventilator with a trach and my legs weren’t moving," Patton said. "They were paralyzed, temporarily. And swelling in my vertebrae."
He learned he has a rare condition called Klippel Feil Syndrome, affecting the bones in the spinal cord.
The condition has morphed into other issues. He needs a trach, and sleeps attached to a ventilator.
"Once you get to the point where you can’t do nothing for yourself, that’s the scariest thing of all," Patton said.
About five months ago, Patton also developed pheumonia. When he finished his antibiotics, he became sick again, then tested positive for COVID-19.
"I told my kids that if I caught covid, I don’t think I wouldn’t make it," Patton said. "Then I ended up, having to call him. And they cried on the phone, and they’re thinking like I’m thinking. I’m going down. So I was sitting there in the hospital just scared."
Once transferred to Mary Free Bed, he began working with therapists on his goal to go home.
"They were pushing me and I was pushing them," Patton said.
Occupational therapist Rebecca Zantstra worked not only to rebuild his strength after COVID-19, but to regain mobility as a spinal cored injury patient.
"He is always ready for therapy," Zantstra said. "He is always pushing to work harder and try new things and that is always inspiring as a therapist to work with someone who is already an all in to see what we can get done in these next 3 to 4 weeks, with big goals like that. So Bobbie was a very special patient to work with."
Now at home, Bobbie is as independent as he could be at this point, living with his Mom with his sights on more accomplishments.
"Hopefully the pandemic will be down so I can start going back to the gym."
He's asking others to have their own goals.
"You know, be serious about this pandemic because it’s not over."
Bobbie is also eager to get back to volunteering at the hospital.