Plano man recovering after nearly 200 days in hospital with COVID-19
Plano man recovering after nearly 200 days in hospital with COVID-19

Plano man recovering after nearly 200 days in hospital with COVID-19

A Plano man spent nearly 200 days in the hospital with COVID-19.

As he struggled to survive, his wife and four children struggled to continue at home.

They said it would not have been possible without the help of their community.

Emily Welch said it’s a miracle her husband, Josh, survived.

Now she is focused on saying thank you to their church and school, their neighbors and even strangers who showed up for their family.

Josh Welch went to the intensive care unit with COVID pneumonia in July 2021.

“I thought he would be in the hospital for a few weeks and be home,” his wife recalled.

Weeks turned into months.

“Every single day was unknown,” Emily said.

197 days later, the doctors let him go home.

“He is completely a miracle. He has struggled through getting lung collapse, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure, he was on dialysis,” his wife said.

For the 197 days, his wife tried to keep it together with a full-time job as a school counselor at St. Patrick Catholic School in Dallas and four busy children at home in Plano.

“It was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve been exposed to in my life,” Emily said.

She said she managed the challenge thanks to a village of followers.

“I haven’t made a meal since July … On days when my friends knew I was just down and out, I wanted to come home and have big gift baskets,” she said. “My neighbors, at Christmas, put lights on our house as a surprise. They all struck … People from the school came and decorated my house and got us a tree.”

And when Josh finally got home, the same community showed up.

“It was huge. It was humbling to see all those people come out,” Emily recalled.

A number of people came out to a welcome car parade.

“They were making posters and it was great to let them see that he was fighting and getting through it,” his wife said. “And also for him, I think it gave him a sense of, oh, wow look at all the people who have supported our family.”

The road to recovery will be long.

“He’s still on oxygen 24/7, which is hard to see,” his wife said.

The “Josh Strong” bracelet on Emily’s arm is a reminder of the support that will be there every step of the way.

“The crowd of people who reached out, friends of friends, people we didn’t even know, would come by just with a card, a prayer card,” she said. “It is overwhelming and humiliating the amount of support our family has received and we are so grateful.”

Josh had no underlying conditions and was not vaccinated when he received COVID-19. Emily said they had been waiting for full FDA approval.

Since then, the whole family, including Josh, has had their shots fired.

MORE: Coronavirus coverage

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