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Muskogee Lieutenant recounts his road to recovery after double lung transplant

Posted at 11:03 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 08:04:19-05

TULSA, Okla. — A Muskogee Sheriff's Lieutenant is grateful for a second chance at life after surviving a serious battle against COVID-19.

We told you about his need for a lung transplant back in October. He finally got it. Now, he's on the road to recovery.

READ MORE: Muskogee deputy battling COVID-19 needs lung transplant

It's been a long and tough journey, but Lt. Skylar Green said he's grateful to be alive today.

“The possibility that I could die from COVID was very real,” Lt. Skylar Green with the Muskogee Sheriff's Office said.

Green is grateful for every breath. Just months ago, his lungs were at the brink of collapse and he wasn't sure he was going to make it. His battle with COVID-19 started back in August.

“At the time I was completely healthy. You know, I have no underlying health conditions. I was fairly active. There wasn’t anything that would have said, I am more susceptible to getting COVID, or having drastic effects of it,” Green said.

After a week of initial symptoms, his condition worsened. His wife took him to the ER, where doctors treated him and sent him home.

“I woke up the next morning still feeling pretty bad, we checked my oxygen saturation levels, which was 65," Green said. "That’s a bad number, I mean you usually want to be over 90, it’s really what you want to be, and being that low, from what I was told it can actually start shutting down some of your major organs."

Green went back to the hospital where his condition worsened. Doctors put him on an ECMO Machine on August 20th, which essentially pumped the oxygen that he needed into his lungs.

“Two months I was pretty much out. I was unconscious,” Green said.

He remained on ECMO for 87 days. During that time he lost 50 pounds. By mid-October, he finally woke up.

“I did lose a lot of muscle, you know, a lot of hand-eye coordination, a lot of muscle control. I wasn’t able to do simple things and you know, I couldn’t even feed myself. I was determined that my lungs were just trashed," Green said.

He was awake, but the battle was far from over. He needed a double lung transplant.
He went to Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center where he was put on the National List for a bi-lateral lung transplant.

Then, the unexpected happened.

"Approximately 19 hours later they said they had a match close to the same age as me," Green said.

Although he doesn't know the donor, he is sure of one thing.

"They say there was a close DNA match so you know it was some kind of divine intervention that allowed me to not have to wait for that waitlist for that transplant."

Today he's grateful to everyone who helped save his life and for the outpouring of support, he has received from his coworkers.

“Two doctors that were there at Hillcrest were Dr. Betz and Dr. Hopkins…you know along with my wife. They pretty much saved my life. I owe a lot to those guys and the nurses there at Hillcrest ICU, the COVID clinic, you know, for keeping me alive and doing the things that were necessary to make sure I didn’t die," he said. "I’ve had numerous co-workers that’s donated sick time, vacation time, they have given me their time so that I can continue to get better and still get paid. I couldn’t ask for better co-workers that I have there."

He's also grateful for the support he's received from the community.

“I’m nothing but grateful for everything that’s been done for me and the second opportunity that I actually got,” Green said.

Although the worst is behind him, the process has forced him to adjust to a new normal. He said he's hoping to return to work by February, but it's likely it will not be in a patrol capacity.

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