COVID-19, from dream to realty
For The Madera Tribune
Michael Alvarez looked at the man lying on the bed in the ICU unit. He was horrified at what he saw; the man was on a ventilator struggling to breathe. It was February 2020, and he was looking at an early victim of COVID-19.
Finally, the patient lost the battle and died. Alvarez looked more closely. There was something strangely familiar about the man, then it struck him. Alvarez was looking at himself; He had just witnessed his own death. Then he woke up. It had been a nightmare. It wasn’t real, yet.
Now, fast forward to 2021, one year later. On Jan. 29, Alvarez was struck with the most severe headache he had ever encountered, It was so bad that he went for a COVID test. It came back positive. Michael went home and isolated himself from Gina, his wife, and sons. For the next few days, he fought a constant cough and had trouble sleeping. Then, on Feb. 4 he woke up with a fever. He had a 103 degree temperature. That sent him to the hospital.
Strangely, when the emergency room technician took his temperature, it had dropped to 97 degrees. A chest x-ray showed nothing, so they performed a CT scan, which set off the alarms. The ER physician told Michael his lungs looked terrible. He had COVID pneumonia and would have to be admitted to the hospital.
For the next two days, the medical staff focused on Michael’s infection level, which rose steadily. By Super Bowl Sunday, he hit a new low. He had not been able to sleep, so they hooked him up to oxygen, and the doctor came in with more bad news. The physician said Alvarez would have to be put on a ventilator. At that point, Michael’s dream from a year earlier came crashing in on him. He saw himself again, dying under that ventilator. Such was the trauma that he suffered from the dream that Alvarez informed the doctor that he would not go on a ventilator.
The doctor was incredulous. He explained to Michael that he stood a good chance of dying without the ventilator. Alvarez, however, remained firm. He would not go on the ventilator.
What nobody in the hospital knew, however, was that Michael’s miracle had already begun.
The next afternoon, Mike Purcell, Michael’s pastor, decided to go on a walk and pray for him. Shortly after beginning the walk, Purcell heard a voice saying, “Turn around, turn around.”
The pastor turned around, but saw nothing. Then he heard the voice again, but this time it said, “Look at your watch.” Purcell looked and noted the time. It was 2:37 p.m. The voice hadn’t meant for Purcell to turn around; it meant that Alvarez was going to experience a turn around in his COVID case.
On Feb. 9, Alvarez’s oxygen level dropped to 80 percent, which put his life in danger. At that point, the doctor renewed his demand that Michael go on a ventilator. Once again, he refused, and then he got an ally in the fight. A respiratory technician named Walter came to his defense by telling the doctor that the demand for ventilator treatment had created an impossible situation for Michael.
Walter told the doctor that Michael could be helped with a CPAP machine instead of a ventilator. When the physician opposed this, Walter held fast, and the argument ended. When the doctor left the room, Alvarez was on the CPAP machine.
The next day, Feb. 10, Michael thought he was going to die. He talked with his sons by phone and told them they would have to become the men of the house. He also prayed over the phone with Gina and then spent the day listening to sacred music.
On Feb. 11, a very strange thing happened. Michael was lying on his left side when suddenly he felt two fingers give his back two firm taps. He turned around to see who was behind him, and saw no one. He called for the nurse and asked her who had been in his room. She assured him that no one had been in his room. Michael was totally perplexed, so he called Gina. She told him that this was God healing him.
The next day Michael had improved so much that they took him off the CPAP machine and allowed him to sit in a chair, hooked up to oxygen. The only problem was someone had accidentally disconnected the oxygen hose. Before long, a technician came in to tell Michael that he wasn’t on oxygen, which meant that he was breathing on his own. He had been healed!
From that point, Alvarez steadily improved. On Feb. 15, he went home, almost a year to the day after that horrific dream in which he died from COVID-19.
Today, Michael is back to work at his job at Titan Metal Products Inc. praising God for His amazing mercy, and he is not dreaming about the COVID virus.