OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The roles were reversed for the longtime Oklahoma doctor who turned into a patient while fighting COVID-19.
Dr. Michael Ward was bound to an ICU bed for nearly a month, and he tells KFOR he barely remembers anything.
He hopes his story will send a message to all Oklahomans to keep your guard up and stay healthy as the state begins to reopen.
“It was difficult not being the doctor, but the doctor that was taking care of me knew as much as I did,” Dr. Michael Ward said. “I swear you do not want to do what I had to do.”
The 71-year-old was in the ICU for 21 days suffering from fever, muscle pain and hallucinations.
“I remember birds flying in my room,” Dr. Ward said. “I remember petting my dog, and I remember having people visit me who are no longer living.”
But Dr. Ward was alone, and the only people he saw were his nurses.
“It was a one day at a time type of agony,” Dr. Ward said. “I won’t call myself a fighter but I didn’t want to die.”
For the three weeks, he was separated from his two daughters and his wife of 30 years, who also tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to stay at home.
“The emotions you have when you have a wife like her,” Dr. Ward said. “The separation felt like forever.”
Michael lost 50 pounds and was struggling to stand. Now, he relies on a walker.
He says he owes his life to the frontline fighters at Hillcrest Hospital in Tulsa. He will remain at home during his recovery and is still unsure when he will go back to work.
“I have never been scared to go to work before, and now I am scared,” Dr. Ward said.
Doctors tell Dr. Ward his recovery time is at least eight weeks. He will continue to go to physical therapy to build up the lost muscle.