essential worker

San Diego Man Overcomes COVID-19, Heart Attack, Stroke During Hospital Stay

After being hospitalized for three months with COVID-19, during which he suffered a heart attack and minor stroke, Hector Reynoso, 61, was released Friday

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Southcrest grandfather Hector Reynoso had to recover from a minor stroke and heart attack during his three months of fighting the coronavirus in a La Jolla hospital.

"Three long months in the hospital of, like, just sadness and uncertainty," said Reynoso's daughter Bridgette.

Reynoso, 61, is an energetic, positive man who likes off-roading as much as he loves celebrating his grandchildren.

"They're my life, they're my stars," he said about his grandchildren.

The Reynoso family was not surprised when Hector continued working during the pandemic, since he was considered an essential worker besides being committed to his job. However, things dramatically changed when he began to fall ill.

“The last day that he was here, he started coughing up blood," Bridgette said. "That's when we were really scared -- like, You know what? We got to take him. He needs to go now to the E.R."

On May 6, Hector was admitted to the ICU at UCSD La Jolla after testing positive for COVID-19, but what followed was a shock to the Reynoso family.

“Three days into being in the ICU, he suffered a heart attack and he was flatlined for four minutes,” Bridgette said.

Hector survived the heart attack and also suffered a minor stroke.

“All these events were devastating to the family because we couldn't be there," Bridgette said. "You know, it's ... I believe it's, like, easier if the families are there physically and maybe can give them support, or, you know, just feel like you're closer to your loved one.”

Due to hospital rules during the pandemic, no visitors were allowed. Despite being physically apart from his wife, kids and grandchildren for so long, his family never stopped calling or Facetiming him.

“That really, really is what helped me get through it and keep my spirits up -- that I was going to pull through,” Reynoso said.

On June 6, Reynoso was transferred to specialty select hospital (LTACH) to begin his recuperation. Then, on July 24 Hector was released from the hospital. He said he and his entire family have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Here I am still fighting, but, you know, little by little getting stronger,” Reynoso said.

His recovery will be a long process while he heals from the virus, the heart attack and the stroke. Bridgette said her dad is working to regain strength and balance to walk, and to breathe without the help of an oxygen tube.

"Thanks to the nurses, the doctors that are there, you know, every day ... fighting along with the patients," Bridgette said.

Bridgette said she hopes her father's story motivates other families who are struggling with the coronavirus to stay positive and keep on fighting. She also encourages others who are healthy to follow all proper health guidelines.

"I'm living proof that even with those conditions, you can still come up victorious the help of our Lord," Reynoso said. "Also to the doctors and nurses and everyone believing helped me pull through."

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