I was surrounded by death

Mario Muñoz

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A COVID-19 survivor participated in a telephone town hall hosted by Congressman Filemon Vela.

Ivy Arroyo, who was born and raised in Brownsville, gave harrowing details of life on a ventilator “surrounded by death.”

He said he lost 25 percent of his body weight and suffered a huge mental toll, with the side effects of confusion, helplessness, hallucination and anxiety

Arroyo now lives in Pflugerville, Texas. When doctors realized how serious Arroyo’s situation was he was transferred to Scott & White hospital in Temple, Texas.

He said his family was told to make plans to never see him again because his life was “hanging by a thread.”

Because he also has Type 2 Diabetes, Arroyo’s chances of survival were put at only four to six percent.

But, he said, his family told medical staff that all he needed was a one percent chance of survival. “My fight and determination would take it from there,” Arroyo told the telephone town hall.

“The only reason I am here today is because my body had finally had enough of these test treatments and all I could do is rip the ventilator tube from my throat. My body took it from there.”

Arroyo said he would not recommend this to others, however, because “people can die within minutes off of coming off a ventilator.”

Arroyo praised Congressman Vela and healthcare officials for insisting on social distancing.

“When people want to go out to the beach, and not practice these safety measures set forth by our leaders, this is a tragic situation fixing to happen. If people become more negligent we are going to see an increase of death and a tremendous amount of heartache.”

Arroyo said people had better listen to health officials. “Once again, there are no test runs in life and you will not set a rest button after you die.”

Editor’s Note: The podcast attached below includes the testimony Arroyo gave at the telephone town hall plus an interview Rio Grande Guardian reporter Steve Taylor secured last Sunday with Arroyo and his husband, David.

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