A New Beginning After COVID-19
When Luis Guillen and his wife of 21 years, Lindsay, first developed COVID-19 in January, it seemed like a mild case of the flu.
“I wasn’t feeling sick at all, just a little shortness of breath,” reflected Luis, who works in construction. The Santa Ana family immediately quarantined, but discovered they all had tested positive — Luis, Lindsay, their pregnant daughter and their son-in-law.
Luis soon lost his sense of taste and smell. Then, his appetite disappeared, causing him to lose weight and become jaundiced. A week into his illness, Luis had stopped smoking, but was still too sick to get out of bed. Lindsay knew his condition was deteriorating quickly, so she took him to Providence St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Care Center.
“I believe it affected me that way because I smoked a pack a day,” said Luis. “I tried to quit for years, but with my grandson and COVID…” he said, shaking his head. “I’m ruining my health and my wife’s.”
As Luis received medication and IV fluids, the Providence St. Joseph staff allowed Lindsay to stay by his side. “I was really appreciative of them letting me stay with Luis in the ER,” she said.
“The staff was wonderful,” agreed Luis. “They took really good care of me. I didn’t feel worried, and they made me feel comfortable.”
Throughout the pandemic, community support for COVID-19 relief has made a tremendous difference for frontline caregivers and patients at Providence St. Joseph, particularly in the Emergency Care Center. Philanthropic contributions funded PPE, testing swabs, meals, thankyou gifts — even the creation of a separate COVID-19 emergency room to prevent the spread of the illness to non-COVID patients.
As he was being prepared for discharge from the ER, his nurse, Danica Suchy, RN, noticed that Luis had tears in his eyes. “COVID turned my life around,” Luis confessed. “As soon as I
got diagnosed, I knew I had to stop smoking or it would kill me. Now I get to continue my life with my family.”
As Danica congratulated him, Luis began to cry. “I’m going to be a grandpa in three weeks,” he explained. “Because of you guys, I get to go home and meet my first grandchild.”
Luis is home now recovering. His strength is slowly coming back, and he is beginning to gain back some of the 50 pounds he lost over the course of his illness. He has maintained his commitment to a healthy life without smoking. And best of all, he is enjoying his grandson — born on February 2, at Providence St. Joseph.
Luis is deeply grateful for his second chance and for the compassionate care he received. “There’s no greater gift in life than to give. The caregivers are putting their lives at risk every day. It must feel good to save a life!” he said.
Navigating the Cancer Journey
Minutes that make a difference
The heart of the matter
Giving from the heart and home
A life devoted to caring
One of the best ever
A record-breaking event
The best inspires confidence
Together, we can provide care that transforms lives, now and for years to come.