Man hospitalized 99 days with COVID-19 wakes from coma to learn wife died of virus


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A 75-year-old Oklahoma City man was released from the hospital this week after a 99-day stay battling COVID-19, but his first feelings after waking up from a coma weren’t of happiness or relief. His family told him his wife of 52 years lost her fight to COVID-19 just down the hall.

For nearly 100 days, Russell Owens has been bound to a hospital bed battling COVID-19.

“I can tell you what we were doing the day before I got sick but after that it’s just blank,” Owens said.

Back in March, the 75-year-old was hooked up to a ventilator. He says he has no memory of his first month at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Down the hall, his 73-year-old wife, Judy, who had also tested positive for COVID-19, was in a coma. She was admitted to the hospital just one day before him.

Their two daughters feared the worst.

“We were all just living for the daily updates from the doctors,” Shaye Rosch said.

But Russell defied the odds, and his recovery rounded a corner. After several more weeks, he moved out of the ICU and into a metro rehab center, losing 70 pounds along the way.

Now, he’s finally back at his house relying on a walker, but his home is half empty.

“Certain things remind me of her, like things that were her things,” Owens said.

Judy lost her battle against COVID-19 after just a week in the hospital.

“They allowed us to be with her when we turned off the machine,” Rosch said.

“People there told me I had bad nights calling for my wife,” Owens said.

Russell woke up from his coma to the news his partner of 52 years was no longer by his side.

“It’s going to be hard for a long time,” Owens said. “They say time heals all, but I just don’t know.”

Now, Russell is spending his time in physical therapy and with his family that’s now forever changed.

“Being an old guy I have lived through a lot of things, but I never would’ve thought of this happening,” Owens said.

As for Russell’s recovery, it’s still unclear if he will have any permanent damage. Right now, his family says they are focusing on regaining his muscle mass, hoping he’ll be able to walk without the use of a walker once again.

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