‘I made a call, and I just said goodbye’: The Woodlands COVID-19 survivor remembers nearly losing his life

Houston-area grandfather shares story of surviving COVID-19
Houston-area grandfather shares story of surviving COVID-19

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Exactly one month after 59-year-old David Manger from The Woodlands was hospitalized with coronavirus, he was finally able to go home, recovering but not yet whole.

“I didn’t think it was as big a deal“ as some said, Manger said. “Then when I got it, I found quite the opposite.”

For him, the first symptom was a cough.

“I came home from work, and all of a sudden I just started shaking with fevers, and then I just went straight to bed,” he said.

Manger stayed in bed for days, leaving only to get tested. Then he was admitted to Memorial Hermann hospital in The Woodlands where he struggled alone for more than four weeks.

“It almost got to where I couldn’t even breath,” Manger said. “I was just gasping for air constantly.”

Manger married his wife Kellie 30 years ago, around the same time she became a nurse at the Texas Medical Center. Their children are also first responders and a teacher, and the Mangers have four grandchildren.

“I would just lay there all day long just looking at the ceiling or looking at the walls, because all I was trying to do was take my next breath,” Manger said.

“I was ready to say, ‘I’m done,’ and it was that bad,” he said, holding back tears. “I was in so much agony, and so much distress, my body was just saying, ‘I’m done.' And I had my phone, and I made a call, and I just said goodbye.”

Twenty-nine days after he was admitted to the hospital, he was finally able to go home. Doctors told the Mangers that he may have to use an oxygen machine for weeks, or even months. COVID-19 pneumonia damaged his lungs, and the extent of the damage is unclear.

“Everyone needs to understand that this is worse than people think it really is,” Manger said from his home, hooked up to the oxygen machine. “Once one of your family members get it, or a friend, I think you’ll understand.”

Kellie Manger is taking time off of work to be David’s full-time nurse.

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