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New Mexico man returns home after more than 500 days in hospital with Covid

“I can’t even put it into words,” Donnell Hunter said of his return home.
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A New Mexico man has returned home after he spent more than 500 days in the hospital battling Covid-19.

Donnell Hunter finally left Kindred Hospital Albuquerque last week, NBC affiliate KOB reported.

Donnell Hunter returned home to Roswell, N.M., after spending 500 days in the hospital with Covid-19.
Donnell Hunter returned home to Roswell, N.M., after having spent 500 days in the hospital with Covid-19.KOB

As Hunter returned home, neighbors lined the road with signs of encouragement. His return even garnered a police escort, according to KOB.

"I can’t even put it into words," Hunter told the station of his return home.

Since he entered the hospital, Hunter became a grandfather and got to meet his grandson.

“He’s a year now, and he acts like he had been knowing me all his life, so as soon as I woke up this morning, he was the first thing on my mind," he told KOB.

Although he is now home, Hunter is still on the road to recovery.

After having being hospitalized in September 2020, he was sedated and put on a ventilator, KOB reported.

“I lost usage of my hands, of my arms, of everything, my legs, so I had to wait for all that to come back and do a lot of rehab speech therapy, learn how to eat, learn how to swallow. I had to learn everything all over again,” Hunter said.

Hunter's wife, Ashley Hunter, described his care as similar to caring for a newborn who is learning how to do things for the first time. Still, she told the station, her husband has come a long way.

“I wanted him to come home and feel like home. I didn’t want to feel like we were in the hospital, so I tried to make things look as least hospital-looking as possible,” she said.

Hunter said that while he was hospitalized, he often dreamed that he was home, only to wake and realize he was still in the hospital.

“Because when I was in the hospital I had many dreams that I was home, and I’d wake up and, like, I said, ‘It was all a dream,'" Hunter said.

He said he put his faith in his religion, adding that he is "just going to trust in the Lord. Whatever he brings my way that’s what I will deal with."