Still, he and his longtime fiancee never gave up hope.
Ron Trotta and Elly McGuire make a living teaching about climate science, but for a while, the couple couldn’t predict their future, let alone the next day.
“They intubated me twice over a total of 28 days,” Trotta said. “All I remember about that is a lot of nightmares.”
He was hospitalized all summer for what doctors initially thought was COVID-19.
“Someone who has lung failure and needs to be intubated is sent to the COVID ventilation room,” said Dr. Paul Stelzer.
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The cardiovascular surgeon did not meet Trotta until late August, when McGuire transferred him to Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Stelzer said that COVID was not making Trotta sick, but was instead a combination of a bacterial infection, a leaking heart valve, and brain bleeds that left him paralyzed on the left side.
“If I have a solid opportunity to help someone that I know will go the extra mile, then I’ll give it a shot,” he said.
Dr. Stelzer successfully replaced Trotta’s aortic valve, which was followed by weeks of rehabilitation.
“Every day he would come in and say, ‘I miss you, your puppies miss you and your piano misses you,'” McGuire said.
He finally made his way home, and on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, the couple celebrated the 30th anniversary of their engagement.
“I cut my hair,” Trotta said, laughing.
It was such a mundane thing, and yet a profound sign that Trotta is getting back on track.
“I knew there was no way I was going to let this guy go,” McGuire said. “He is a man of miracles.”
The couple hold on tight and hold on to each other.
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