A family leans on faith as their loved ones are diagnosed with the coronavirus.
By Aimee Martinez, Multimedia Editor
Photo Courtesy of Benito Hernandez
The turbulent sickness of Benito Hernandez tested his and his family’s faith as he teetered on the edge of death.
At 56, Hernandez was as healthy as they come. The positive diagnosis of COVID-19 was a shock to him and his family, but a Bible verse came to mind: Romans 8:28, which says that everything works together for the good of those who love the Lord.
“God, your word says this is for good. I don’t know how, but I trust you,” prayed Hernandez.
On March 28, a day after Hernandez’s results, his symptoms worsened. His breath shortened, his skin paled and his cough became persistent. His wife Luz also experienced some of her own. His daughters drove them both to a Simi Valley hospital, where Luz stayed two hours and Hernandez remained for another 36 days.
“Love, there is no way that my lungs can get oxygen,” said Hernandez in a phone call to Luz that afternoon. “They will connect me to a ventilator, so I can breathe and get oxygen. I love you. Please tell my daughters I love them and may the will of God be done.”
When Hernandez called his eldest daughter, she realized he was experiencing exactly what the news had been describing. The coronavirus no longer remained a distant disease. She worried whether or not her father would survive it.
On April 1, Luz went to the hospital again. She felt a tremendous pressure in her chest and had trouble talking and breathing. The hospital staff placed her in the room adjacent her husband’s. An individual air conditioning unit cooled the room by filtering outside air. There were machines to check her blood pressure, heart beat and oxygen.
One day, through the glass door, Luz watched as the nurses rushed to the room beside her. In her heart, she understood the gravity of the situation. She asked one of the nurses entering her room if her husband was alright, but they said he was in very poor condition. Alone in her room, Luz talked to God.
“You created my husband in his mother’s womb,” Luz prayed. “You forgave his sins, and gave him eternal life in Christ Jesus. He is your child and before the foundation of the world he was in your thoughts. I understand that he belongs to you, not to me. Since he is yours and not mine, your will be done in him. I leave him in your hands, and please Lord, strengthen my life and my daughters.”
Again, Hernadez’s lungs were struggling to take in oxygen. Eventually, doctors stabilized the oxygen by sedating him and placing his body face down so the ventilator would work better. However, the virus also attacked his kidneys; they were failing. So, doctors needed to give him dialysis twice a day.
Despite Luz’s tears, peace settled in her heart and the next day, nurses shepherded her in to see her husband. Needles covered his entire body as machines pumped in medicine and other liquids. She could only touch the fingers of his left hand. After 27 years by his side, this moment provided a small relief from the pain of being absent all these days.
The hospital called on April 16. After 18 days on a ventilator, Hernandez no longer needed it. He regained consciousness and could now breathe on his own. One of their daughters burst into Luz’s room as she slept, shouting the good news. They were overcome with joy. Doctors told a recuperated Hernandez that they did not think he would survive, since everyone else in his condition died. Thanks to a nurse, the family was able to Facetime with Hernandez and witness the miracle of his recovery.
After 37 days in the hospital, Hernandez continues his recovery at home. He has lost 30 pounds and is still relatively weak, but can now talk. In addition to taking medications, he is currently participating in a therapy program. His rehabilitation is slow, but Luz says they are not in a hurry.
“We are calmed, patiently waiting on God to continue working on his body,” said Luz. “We are not desperate, we are not rushing, we are not angry; we are joyous because God is doing His work in the life of my husband. We are rejoicing.”