A Miami-Dade firefighter found himself in a battle he never imagined when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March.
Raul Perez was hospitalized at Kendall Regional Medical Center for 11 days because of the virus.
“Besides obviously feeling sick and having difficulty breathing, the worst part of it was just the total isolation,” Perez told NBC 6.
But one day during his hospital stay, Perez looked out the window of his fourth-floor hospital bedroom to see a Miami-Dade firetruck and some of his coworkers from the department.
“Soon they’re going to bring the ladder over here and they’re all going to come up and say, ‘Hi,” Perez said in a cell phone video posted on MDFR’s Facebook page.
His extended family from Stations 36 and 37 made sure he knew he wasn’t alone fighting COVID-19.
“This is love,” Perez continued in the cell phone video. “This is the only kind of love you can get from the brother and sisterhood at the firehouse.”
Out of breath and hardly able to speak, Perez watched as they rose the ladder and, one by one, they came to his hospital window.
“To see them literally do that and for them to climb all the way to the top of that ladder just to see me, it’s hard to explain but it was the most heartwarming experience of my life,” Perez says. “It was wonderful. It was amazing.”
That visit made things a little more comforting while he was in the hospital. The 25-year veteran firefighter also thanks the healthcare workers who helped him put out a fire he never saw coming.
“I’d like to say thank you very much to the doctors,” said Perez. “Dr. Robert Hernandez, Infection Control and Luis Secades, my doctor from Kendall Regional Medical Center, because that’s where I was and that’s where they saved me and that’s where they kept me stable."
"They’re miracle workers. All the nurses, all the doctors did a great job there. The medications I was on helped tremendously and I owe them my life," he added.
Perez says he took some time off from work after being discharged from the hospital on April 1st. He says he is now feeling better and has returned to working at the fire station.