PROSPECT PARK, NJ - When David Olmedo of Prospect Park felt sick in March, he thought that he had caught a cold.  Seven days later, on March 17, he decided to get medical attention. 

The forty-six-year-old man recounted his ordeal with TAPinto Hawthorne.  "I couldn't get up, I couldn't walk, everything hurt, so I decided to go to the hospital.  Once I went there, they kept me and I spent the next two months in ICU on a ventilator."

His sister Sylvia said that he needed to be resuscitated twice during the course of his long journey back to health.

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Olmedo would spend almost half a year between the hospital and rehabilitation.  "Because I was in bed too long I developed wounds on my back which were pretty big.  I stayed in the hospital until June 20 and then I went to the Atrium Rehab Center in Wayne.  I spent four months there."

On Wednesday, October 21, Olmedo finally got to go home.  Using the assistance of a walker, with family and friends, he sat on his porch for a welcome-home party.  Mayor Mohamed Khairullah stopped by to check in and wish him well.  The Prospect Park Fire Department and Police Department drove past the Olmedo home, blasting their sirens and flashing their lights to welcome him back. 

Wearing a mask as everyone gathered did, Olmedo said he suffered from anemia and more.  "My lungs collapsed.  Then right before I was supposed to be released to go into the rehab center, my lungs collapsed again," Olmedo said.  "My heart was slowing down so they took me to the ICU and gave me electrical shocks."  He recalled the experience as he was conscious at the time.  "I was dizzy but the doctor told me they were going to shock me, thank God I only needed one.  I spent seven months there: I couldn't eat, my hands shake, I couldn't open anything, I couldn't walk."  Olmedo can get around, but he has to wear a brace on his left leg until it fully heals.  Without it, he said, his leg would drag.

"We are excited about David's return and extremely happy for his family," Mayor Khairullah said.  "David's story highlights the importance of being cautious when it comes to the spread of the virus.  Each person's body responds differently to the virus and thus we have to be careful."

Olmedo cautioned people to take the pandemic seriously.  "You have to be aware, you have to wear a mask.  This is real, it's not something that's a small cold that'll go away.  Some people are lucky, some are not.  You have to follow the instructions and take care of yourself.  Think of others.  Sometimes we become selfish, and we just think we're good and we don't have it, and give it to someone else.  Wear the mask.  Follow the guidelines and be safe."

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