MINNEAPOLIS (Up News Info) – Chris Hirte's sister Dawn Ramaley and her friend Michele Kivi called to take him to North Memorial Hospital in March when he started developing symptoms of COVID-19.
"On March 26, he developed a fever that rose to 103.6 (degrees)," said Ramaley.
Hirte was admitted to the hospital on March 28, the day before his 50th birthday. He has been in the ICU on a ventilator ever since, marking more than 56 days in the hospital.
"He can't speak or respond. He can barely nod his head," said Ramaley.
The family can't see him in person, but recently they have been able to make Zoom calls with him. It has been a difficult way for this family to see their brother and friend, who usually strives to make others smile.
"He was a very generous guy," said Kivi.
Hirte also seemed healthy, with only a small underlying health problem.
"He is an extremely well-controlled diabetic. He doesn't even take medication. His numbers are fabulous," said Ramaley.
As the state begins to reopen many businesses, there are families like this that are far from ready to look on the other side of this virus.
"I have discussions all the time on Facebook about that," said Kivi, "but you know if you had someone in the hospital who was struggling every day to improve, you would understand."
It has been a long journey for this entire family, but as Chris continues to struggle to survive, his family struggles with his fears.
"There is still hope," Ramaley said, "I want to say we believe it will."
Hirte has gradually improved in the last week. They gave him a tracheostomy, which means he will be sedated much less.
"This is how he has become more conscious and can open his eyes and look forward instead of rolling up, which is what happens with anesthesia," Ramaley said.
For Ramaley, Hirte is more than a brother. She moved in with her sister after her husband passed away in 2016. She has been helping raise her son, who graduated this year, another person in the family badly affected by this virus.
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