OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — After being in the hospital since April 6, Everidge Cade's sendoff at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Center in Overland Park was more than just a fond farewell. It was a celebration for the staff, the patient, and his family.
Cade, 73, initially went to the hospital due to shortness of breath. His wife of almost 45 years wasn't allowed to accompany him and his only communication with her has been through video conferences from his hospital bed.
He was intubated, placed unconscious on a ventilator and alone beginning April, which is how he would stay for a month.
"I want to tell everybody, this is not a joke," Cade said of his bout with COVID-19. "So, if a person thinks for some reason, you'll be OK, you may not."
Cade credits doctors with saving his life, but the time he spent on a ventilator took its toll.
"I think obviously the physical aspect, because you go through some challenges and, if you don't have the will and the desire to go forward, you won't make it," Cade said of the biggest challenge during his treatment. "And then being away from your family."
Eventually, Cade was transferred from Saint Luke's East Hospital in Lee's Summit to Saint Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in Overland Park, where he experienced some serious setbacks. Doctors said Cade's reaction is rare but not unheard of.
"The vast majority may not have anything, but we've seen injuries to the kidneys, the heart, the lungs," Saint Luke's Rehabilitation Medical Director Brad Seinle said. "We've seen strokes in these patients as well. It's devastating for the patients that we've seen. It's been devastating, and so we have to keep working hard, doing the right thing, wearing the masks, the physical distancing."
Steinle actually came in on his day off to see Cade one last time and wish him well. He said he's proud of Cade's hard work during his recovery.
"He's an incredibly positive man," Steinle said. "From someone who couldn't sit himself up on the side of the bed to he could've walked out of the hospital, just a remarkable recovery on his part."
Cade's wife, Janice, and daughter, Shannon, were understandably thrilled and grateful the day had come that he could finally come home.
"Oh a relief, a happiness, a joy I can't even express," Janice said. "I've been without my husband for 94 days. All of the staff in the Saint Luke's system, they have done miracle work for my husband."
Shannon said they hope their family's experience serves as a cautionary tale for others.
"You don't want to see your loved one go through this," she said. "This is not what you want."