(CNN/Gray News) – The first COVID-19 patient to need a ventilator at Johns Hopkins Hospital is making a remarkable recovery.
Ahmad Ayyard took an Uber to a Washington D.C. hospital in March after experiencing what he thought were flu symptoms.
His life was in the balance.
“They put me in a coma, and they put me on a ventilator,” Ayyad said. “I wake up the next day, I’m in Baltimore at Hopkins.”
He tested positive for coronavirus and influenza.
“He is a very athletic, fit individual and he’s young and so my first thought was wow, if this can happen to him and he can be this sick, this can happen to anyone,” said Dr. Natalie West, a pulmonary specialist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The 40-year-old athlete was in an induced coma for 25 days.
The ordeal took a toll on his body. He lost 60 pounds.
“I was basically paralyzed, I couldn’t move,” he said. “All my muscles were gone.”
Ayyad also had heart and lung damage.
Physical therapy involved relearning to eat, walk and talk. It was a difficult process.
Ayyad said he hopes to be back to normal by September and offered some advice as the virus continues to spread.
“Take it seriously. It’s not a joke,” he said.
“It can kill you, even if you think you’re healthy and immune to it. You’re not.”