If you know our family, you know that last year my father-in-law, Len Mahon, had COVID-19.  He was 83 years old, and had some underlying black-lung from working in the coal mines of WV.

He is a robust, active man who loves God, his family, golf and yard-work.  But when he developed COVID in February, 2021, we knew he was ill.  The day Jan and I took him to the hospital we found him exhausted, in his bed, in the middle of the day.

When he arrived in the ER he was hypoxic and light-headed.  Ultimately, he ended up on a ventilator for about two weeks.  After he was extubated (the tube removed from his throat), he could barely speak and couldn’t really swallow. He was incredibly fatigued, his strength so taken, that he was told that it would be likely he would never walk again and would be consigned to a wheel-chair for the rest of his life.

There were those who said he might never speak again.

Of course, there were those who said he would never come off of the ventilator in the first place; and not without reason as many of those on ventilators for COVID perished before they could be removed from ventilatory support.

However, he wasn’t done.  Not by half.

He received excellent, compassionate care from the medical, nursing, respiratory and other staff at Oconee Memorial Hospital.  And he was prayed over by friends, family and church. He was supported and encouraged by his children and grandchildren as he went from hospital to rehab and ultimately came home.

Once home he had home-health care, home speech therapy, home physical therapy and home Jan therapy.  That is, his oldest child, my wife Jan, made sure that he was exercising whether he liked it or not.  And she doesn’t take no for an answer.

In time, he progressed from wheel-chair to walker, and walker to cane and from cane to nothing. Along the way he had episodes of low blood pressure which required new medications.  He almost passed out a few times. He developed atrial fibrillation (an irregular rhythm that can lead to stroke).

But he pressed on, loved and encouraged and lifted up by both faith and science.

And so, I give you Len Mahon, age 84, on December 30, 2021.  Ten months after his tangle with COVID-19, he was back in the gym at the leg-press machine, a thing Jan had been taking him and her mother Carma to do for years previously (and which probably helped save his life due to underlying fitness).

Take that COVID!


God is good.

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