Sunday, July 5, 2020
COVID Patient Looks Forward to Fishing After Eight Weeks in Hospital
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Al Luray celebrates his release from St. Luke’s Magic Valley with the COVID ward staff.
   
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Al Luray has a distinction that no one could possibly relish. He holds the record for the longest COVID-19 stay at St. Luke’s Magic Valley.

The Bellevue Realtor returned home on May 19 two months after he first entered the hospital. That’s a sixth of the year, if you’re counting.

“I don’t need the notoriety of being the longest COVID patient they’ve had. But at least I got out,” said Luray, who will celebrate his 80th birthday in July.

 
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Al Luray received a T-shirt he will prize for the rest of his life.
 

Just a few days before he became ill, Luray oogled the elk that had taken up residence in his front yard. He had a good laugh with his son as they spoofed playing poker for toilet paper amidst a run on toilet paper during the building pandemic.

He shared with his friends an admonition by Jeffrey Goldstein that when the coronavirus starts spreading it does so faster than anyone can imagine.

“Everyday Americans like YOU will be caught off guard!” said Goldstein, who had come from China where he now lives to visit his parents at their East Fork home when the virus began sweeping across America.

And as Blaine County began shutting down, Luray posted a message that said: “Getting outdoors, not cancelled. Music..family…reading..singing…laughing…hope…not cancelled.”

 
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Blaine County reported no new cases of coronavirus for the fourth day in a row, tying its longest stretch of no new cases from May 22-26, said Paul Ries. Idaho gained just 10 new cases on Monday, bringing the state to 2,906 cases all told.
 

Then the virus laid him low.

On March 19 he felt wasted. He had no energy, no strength. He had to stop to catch his breath while climbing stairs. He ate dinner and felt like throwing up. When he excused himself to go to the bathroom, he fell in the hallway

Brandishing a fever, he went to St. Luke’s Wood River. As his symptoms worsened, he was transferred to St. Luke’s Magic Valley on March 24.

He spent nine days on a ventilator struggling to breathe. He dealt with blood clots and blood pressure issues. He lost 30 pounds—a good deal of that muscle.

Finally, after weeks, he began to get better, and doctors moved him to an inpatient rehabilitation unit. There he relearned how to swallow. He relearned how to fold clothes and wash dishes.

And on May 19 the entire COVID-19 staff turned out to celebrate his release, handing him a T-shirt with the word “Hope” on front.

“You are beyond great,” he told the team, according to Michelle Bartlome, St. Luke’s Magic Valley public relations officer. “I attribute all of my success to you guys.”

“The doctors in this valley and in Twin Falls worked together and endlessly to help my dad and my family. And I can’t thank everyone enough for their constant prayers, support and help,” added his daughter Elyse Luray.

 Luray returned home to his wife Leslie wearing a face mask.  But that made no different to his four dogs who were just happy to see him.

His friends cheered, including his Sotheby’s office mate Mike Sampson, who said he missed his conversations with his pal while Luray was hospitalized.

“This is why I wear a mask, social distance, stay at home and am being patient so hopefully we will all be safe and healthy this summer,” Sampson said.

Luray acknowledges he has a long road ahead to regain his strength.

“I can’t walk without my walker. I still need oxygen,” he said. “But I am going to get better. I’m looking forward to fishing.”

That said, he has a message for his friends and neighbors:

“I haven’t gotten a clue where I got this virus—all I did in the days leading up to it was go to the store and the office a few times. But I do know that it’s something you don’t want to deal with, and I can’t believe it when I watch TV and see these kids running around as if there is no virus out there. Wear a mask. Distance. Take this thing seriously.”

 

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