SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Sioux Falls man who battled COVID-19 for nearly two months needs a double lung transplant to save his life.
Nathan Foote, 42, is running out of time after an October diagnosis for COVID-19 hospitalized him and left his lung tissue scarred, according to his wife of 14 years, Angie Foote.
Nathan Foote didn’t discover he had COVID-19 until he was tested for it before a routine dentist appointment
“He was tested for COVID because you have to be in order to see (our) dentist,” Angie said. “He had no symptoms, nothing whatsoever. About three days later is when his symptoms started, and on Oct. 30 we had to take him to hospital due to a drop in his oxygen level.”
After being hospitalized, Nathan contracted pneumonia. He recovered after a few weeks, but his lungs were severely damaged by scarring.
“Eighty percent of his lungs were scarred and 20 percent were healthy lungs,” Angie Foote said.
The doctors informed the couple they had two options: Nathan would need to get on a lung transplant list or go into hospice and remain there until he dies, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.
“For me it was no doubt I had to take the option of the transplant,” Nathan said from his hospital room at Sanford. “I wasn’t going to give up and just let myself die. I had to give myself that chance, my wife that chance, my kids that chance.”
The father of five remains optimistic that if he were to get on the transplant list, his situation would put him toward the top of the eligible donor recipients, but a lot of factors could stand in the way.
The first obstacle for Nathan is getting on the transplant list, and due to COVID-19, that list is long. Once he is on the list, an eligible donor match needs to come from someone who dies.
“As morbid as it is for someone to receive lungs, someone has to pass away to give you those lungs,” Angie said.
Angie and Nathan have prepared themselves and their kids for the worst in the event he can’t receive a transplant.
After 70 days of Nathan not being able to see his children, Sanford Health approved time for each of his kids to have one-on-one time with him. He took that as an opportunity to cherish possibly one last moment with his five kids.
“I needed that time with them,” he said. “Not a lot of people get to have that time with loved ones, and it is hard and emotional, but that’s the situation we face.”
Throughout his battle, Nathan and Angie have documented his journey on social media to show people how dangerous this virus could be. Nathan believes it holds weight coming from him, since he didn’t believe COVID-19 was that dangerous to someone like him who was in good health before the positive test.
He wants people to take a look at his journey and grow aware of what they are facing and that it could happen to anybody.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up behalf of Nathan and his family to help cover expenses from medical bills. It had raised more than $9,200 as of Jan. 8.
“No one is invincible,” he said. “You don’t want to go through this. Trust me.”