Sergio Callejo Salazar nodded as he held back tears when his occupational therapist told him, through a translator, he wouldn't receive a hospital bill for his nearly three month stay at The Medical Center of Aurora because of his near-death experience with COVID-19.

It started in April with the common COVID-19 symptoms health experts warn about: a fever, aches, coughing. Lots of coughing. Soon, Callejo Salazar was on a mechanical ventilator, now synonymous with critical illness, as doctor's tried everything they could, including a drug trial, to keep him alive.

Today, Callejo Salazar can perform basic household tasks, like washing the dishes, without becoming so exhausted he can no longer stand. He learned how to complete normal tasks again at Aurora's Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital after being transferred there for a two-week stay on June 16. Speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy were all part of the agenda during his time at the center.

View the full story

tags: covid-19