'You gotta keep fighting': Coronavirus patient leaves rehab hospital after months of recovery

Anthony Tyler was unable to walk, eat or complete tasks on his own.

Posted: Dec 4, 2020 5:56 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 6:47 PM

Anthony Tyler walked towards a brighter future Friday.

The Moulton man spent nearly three months at a rehab facility after battling coronavirus. On Friday, he was able to finally go home.

"You gotta keep getting up, you gotta keep pushing, you gotta keep fighting, you gotta keep digging," Tyler said.

But it was not an easy fight. On Aug. 5, after his wife tested positive, Tyler started showing severe symptoms.

"I just remember the ambulance coming to pick me up," Tyler said. "I don't remember nothing about getting into the hospital. I know I woke up four weeks later. That day, they told her I wouldn't make it through the night."

He spent a whole month on a ventilator at Decatur-Morgan Hospital, causing his muscles to deteriorate. Tyler was unable to walk, eat or complete tasks on his own. He would spend the next few months at the rehab hospital.

"He looked like a spinal cord patient, he could barely move his legs, he couldn't move his arms at all," Dr. Keith Anderson said. "I've never seen anything like that before besides somebody with actual spinal cord injury."

Tyler would begin to progress. He said it was faith, support from family and the new friendships he built at the rehab hospital that allowed him to persevere.

"I've met people I'll never forget," Tyler said. "I'll never forget the first day I took my first step, and that was just a milestone."

But Tyler is just one of several coronavirus patients who have gone through rehabilitation at Encompass. Dr. Anderson said the disease is affecting people's bodies in ways she could have never predicted.

"Coming from a disease standpoint, it's something we've never seen before, and each day, we're finding out new things that this virus can do," Anderson said.

The list of complications a patient can endure due to coronavirus is growing.

"We've seen patients who've had strokes, heart attacks, neuromuscular problems, weakness, just general fatigued from being on a ventilator for a long period of time," Anderson said.

While it can be devastating to see how the virus has taken over people's health, there are moments of hope. Occupational Therapist Jenny Sisco cherishes those moments.

"It's a reward in and of itself to see that somebody came in unable to do the simple things in life that we take for granted, getting up to go the bathroom on their own, and working daily to do those things and getting them back to where they can do those things is very gratifying," Sisco said.

While Tyler is walking away from the hospital, on the road to recovery, he wants people to realize just how dangerous the virus can be.

"This is no joke," Tyler said. "You better take it serious, because when it knocks you down, it's hard to get back up."

Encompass Health in Huntsville has treated around 45 patients with a history of coronavirus.

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