Family and staff celebrated Monday inside Desert Valley Hospital for Miguel Rodriguez, who survived 128 days in the hospital battling COVID-19, much of it on a ventilator.
He was finally healthy enough to go home.
"It felt like I was reborn, especially since I almost died several times during my stay here."
Days later Rodriguez is back in the hospital after suffering from minor complications.
The 33-year-old Hesperia resident says he is still on the COVID-19 roller coaster of recovery.
"It makes me more appreciative of life it made me value the little things I never valued before."
Miguel is a father of two young boys, his wife says he didn't have any underlying health conditions. But COVID-19 nearly killed him, possibly because he wasn't vaccinated.
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"We are not anti vax," said his wife, Georgina Rodriguez. "We didn't feel it was the right moment for us at that time."
Not only did she have to prepare for possible life without her husband, she also had to figure out how she would financially support their children.
"I thankfully have my parents help," she said. "It was very hard because I had my two boys with me. I'm a stay-at-home mom and I just didn't know what I was going to do without my husband because he really is the head of the house."
Health officials say although the virus isn't spreading like it did before, people are still getting severely sick and some are dying.
"Most of our patients that suffered severely and again we saw a lot of death in the last two years, were the unvaccinated," said Dana Roesler, RN, chief nursing officer.
Miguel says he often thinks about how devastating his death would have been to his wife and two sons.
He's hoping others will take his message to heart.
"Obviously I regret not getting vaccinated," he said. "If anybody wants to take my advice … get vaccinated because you don't want to be like me with a 128-day hospital stay."