MESA, AZ — Heading into a holiday weekend, a Valley man is warning others about the seriousness of COVID-19, having spent nearly a month on a ventilator and still dealing with the virus' debilitating effects.
Ed Cipres, 63, is back home after spending nearly 50 days at Banner Baywood Medical Center, followed by several weeks at a rehabilitation center.
"I think everybody should take this seriously," Cipres said. "You don't know what your outcome is going to be."
Cipres told ABC15 he contracted COVID-19 back in April. After he was admitted to Banner Baywood Medical Center, he was ultimately placed on a ventilator after a discussion with his medical team.
"He said, 'I recommend you call your wife,' so that's what I did," Cipres said. "Basically I had to tell her goodbye because I didn't know if I was going to see her again."
His wife, Veronica Collier, had to process the call.
"I told him I loved him but I was like, 'how do you say goodbye?'" she said. "It's not goodbye, it's until I see you again."
Cipres spent nearly a month on a ventilator and was finally discharged from the hospital in early June.
"Physically, every time I've got to move...I lose my breath, my oxygen level goes down," he explained. "Pretty much I have to live on oxygen right now."
Cipres told ABC15 he previously battled prostate cancer, which put him in a higher risk category, but was otherwise strong before contracting COVID-19.
"I've lost all my muscle mass, so it makes it difficult to walk," he said. "I've lost over 50 pounds as well."
As Cipres continues to recover, he is encouraging everyone else to follow guidelines and protect themselves and others.
"I try to get the word out there," Cipres said. "Every time I see someone...they're not going to use a mask, they're going to the bars, my stomach just turns knowing that. You see these parties where people are gambling on who is going to get it next, I just pray for them so hard because it's not fair to everybody to get this."