TULSA, Okla. — David Sieminskie was a healthy 51-year-old Collinsville resident until this past month when COVID-19 nearly took his life.
“I feel human," Sieminskie said.
This feeling not recently the case for him. He was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 two weeks ago, just weeks after being in the hospital with pneumonia.
Less than 48-hours after he was admitted, he was transferred from Bailey Medical Center in Owasso to Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa and placed on a ventilator.
“I could not for any reason get oxygen to my lungs," Sieminskie said. "Feels like an elephant just sitting on your chest and not wanting to get off.”
One of David’s nurses in the ICU was Micah Neuenschwander. When he started caring for Sieminskie, he was in what’s called the “prone position” where the patient is laid on their stomach.
“At that point, these patients are highly sedated, highly paralyzed on a paralytic drip," Neuenschwander said. "And so when I saw that I was like, 'Oh.' It was a hard feeling at first because I know a lot of patients like this you know, they don’t have a great outcome.”
The next day, Sieminskie was on his back and doing better but still not out of sedation. So, Micah’s goal was to get him there. All night he checked on him, hoping he'd show movement. Eventually yelling his name in his face.
“He opened his eyes just a little bit," Neuenschwander said. "Just the fact that he was doing it was like, right then, instantly changed me. It put a smile on my face. I told him right away, I was like, ‘Hey, you know, your family loves you. You’re in the ICU, but we’re taking care of you. Your family loves you. You need to keep fighting because you have a long way to go. You need to keep fighting. Keep working hard.'”
Both are calling it a miracle.
Now awake and off the ventilator, David has more challenges ahead.
“I’m learning to speak," Sieminskie said. "I’m learning to walk. I’ve just got to learn these motor skills all over again.”
Neuenschwander just graduated nursing school in May. In his nearly eight months working in the COVID ICU unit, David is just one of three patients he’s taken care of that survived after coming off the ventilator. Now, David is forever having an impact on his life.
“He gave me a card, thanking me for the opportunity to treat me. Who does that?" Sieminskie said. "Micah, no, I’m thanking you.”
“Seeing just one, just one patient every once in a while just, it changes everything," Neuenschwander said. "Because it gives me the motivation to do it again, come back every night and every day. And just try to make an impact on at least someone.”
David is ready for the road ahead and thanks those who saved his life.
“These people are our soldiers," Sieminskie said. "And these people are on the frontlines, fighting this. They go in, they go into covid rooms with no thought or regard of their own safety. They go in because their patients need them no matter what.”
Sieminskie said he is moving to rehab on Monday and his goal is to be home by next weekend.
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