Man Describes Near Fatal Case Of COVID

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
In early July, Michael Sudholt, 70 years old, from Higbee, Missouri, didn’t feel well and called one of his sons who arranged for him to be admitted to the University of Missouri hospital. The retired Environmental Specialist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources already had pre-existing conditions of diabetes and a sepsis infection, and then tested positive for COVID-19. He says that he was put on a ventilator right away, and then put into an induced coma for two weeks. 
“Before I was taken to the hospital I remember sitting in my living room chair, but was mostly unresponsive,” said Sudholt. “When the doctor asked if I would allow a ventilator I knew my condition was very serious. I remember my lungs feeling like ground glass. I later found out that there was water in my lungs and I also had to be put on temporary dialysis.”
Sudholt said that when he woke out of his coma the first time, he hallucinated about being in a Star Wars scene where there were storm troopers wearing white helmets, and some bubble people. Of course the people he saw were health professionals in protective gear. He also discovered that his siblings had been very concerned and “ready to pull the plug” on him.
“I was in the hospital two and a half months, and was given some experimental drugs including Hydroxy chloroquine. The FDA did not have to approve the use of these experimental drugs because of a ‘Right to Try Law’ that now allows the use of these type of drugs if a patient is in a potentially terminal situation and if the patient agrees to take them. I believe that these drugs were good for my recovery.”
Sudholt left the hospital on September 11 when he was only able to pull himself up to sit on the side of his bed. Warsaw Health and Rehabilitation Center (WHRC) was the only place available in the Medicare system that could take him for rehab, and he spent 20 days there. That was the limit of time that Medicare would pay for treatment.
“With the good help of WHRC and God, I was able to learn to sit up and walk,” said Sudholt. “At first I could walk down the corridor, and then could walk 600 feet. I also did balancing exercises. My son told me that I was healing fast, and I was released on September 30.  Now that I am home by myself, my family helps me a lot. I use a walker and sometimes a cane to get around. I don’t go out. I tried to drive my car, with my son by my side, but it wore me out. So I am not doing that. When I walk, I try to stay close to a wall or counter to retain balance. I am re-learning how to get out of a chair and have to be careful not to put my weight on the wrong muscles.”
Sudholt said that after he was home his feeding tube into his stomach got stuck in the rail of his bed and came out. He was told by his doctor that if it was not bleeding, but healing, it was okay. Sudholt said that he had already been eating regularly through the mouth and no longer needed the tube. At some previous time he also started to reach up to his throat where there was an opening that had been made during his tracheotomy, and the ventilator tube fell out. His bionic body parts were becoming unnecessary.
Sudholt is now seeing his doctor for checkups, and is doing well in his convalescence. He said that his education in the biological field made him realize that it is amazing living things don’t die more often than they do.