Ellen DeGeneres shared a heart to heart with “patient zero” of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.
Gregg Garfield contracted COVID-19 from a ski trip to Italy. Upon returning home he was intubated for 31 days and given a 1% chance of survival. Thankfully, after 64 days in hospital, Garfield returned home to his girlfriend AJ Johnson and his sister Stephanie Bruno, who all helped share his story with the talk show host.
“I’m doing great, getting better and stronger each day,” Garfield told DeGeneres.
The doctors never told Johnson or Bruno that Garfield had only a 1% chance of survival.
“Thank goodness they didn’t,” Johnson said. “It would have been so hard to be as positive as we are.”
She added, “There were so many highs and so many lows” of his recovery.
Garfield and Johnson shared the story about how despite him being in a coma, one of his nurses would speak with him every day. One day she decided to stick a stuffed animal of a dog named “Baby Bear” after his own dog under his chin and Garfield started cry.
“It was the first sign of hope I was in there,” he said.
Garfield also had to learn how to eat and walk again. “It is the most humbling experience to learn to walk again at 54-yers-old,” he noted.
“I looked up at my doctor and said ‘I’m going to make you proud, I’m not going to let you down.’ And I kicked a**,” Garfield said getting emotional. “And I will ski again this year.”
But Garfield got real about how “real” this virus is, sharing the loss of his fingers and toes because of lack of blood flow.
After praising his doctors and nurses, who still are texting and calling him, DeGeneres donated $15,000 in his name to support COVID-19 Heroes of Saint Joe’s, courtesy of Shutterfly.