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A long journey through COVID-19

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - For some people, COVID-19 comes and goes, or does not come at all. For others, it is deadly. One Curtis man has been down the latter road, and thankfully, he lived through a miraculous tale of healing to share his story thus far.

Joshua “Josh” Trace of Curtis and his wife Natalie and their four young children all tested positive for COVID-19 in August.

“I used to mock COVID all the time. I did. All the time. I thought it was a joke. I thought - ‘Oh, it’s just another word for the flu or anything,’ and then I got it.”

Josh Trace of Curtis, battling back from COVID-19

The Trace Family’s journey with COVID-19 lasted at least a month at Great Plains Health in North Platte. Their journey is far from over, but it is looking up.

On August 18 Josh went to use his inhaler for asthma maintenance when he realized his inhaler was empty. His wife and mom, Vinnie Padgett of Curtis, put their heads together and realized Josh needed to go to the hospital. His wife explains more than once while being interviewed that her husband is strong-willed. But it did not take long to convince him.

Natalie Trace explained that when she heard her husband’s condition she had a panic attack, which landed her in the hospital too. They threatened intubation, but she was able to do deep breathing exercises and avoid the machines. Josh was not fortunate in this way. Natalie fought off the need to be in the hospital. Josh did not.

It was August 18th when Josh was taken to the hospital on the 19th he was intubated, medically paralyzed, and medicated. It was more than Natalie and Josh could have ever imagined. He suffered from pneumonia, a bi-lateral infection, and blood clots. Asthma did not help his situation, but Josh says doctors told him it can happen to anyone (even those without asthma).

Still on the mend herself, Natalie explains that her children and other family helped her until she was able to be herself again. From the beginning, she documented Josh’s fight to live on Facebook.

Josh was doing better a couple weeks in, but then things turned on him again.

Natalie and her children had to face the fact that her husband and their father could actually die from this.

You can see her look him in the eyes as they both fight tears, and hold hands throughout the interview.

Natalie took the two oldest kids in to say goodbye to their dad, because, according to Josh, they did not know if he was going to make it.

Natilie sqeezes his had a little tighter and says during the interview that she put their wedding music on repeat and laid it on his hospital bed next to Josh’s ear and told him he had to keep fighting.

Josh, who never got the COVID-19 vaccine says he still does not know how he feels about it, but what he does know is that he would not wish COVID-19 on anyone. He explains that he feels like he is 35-years-old, going on three, relearning everything from talking to walking, and even eating.

The Trace’s say their faith saw them through. They say it was not luck, it was God giving Josh a second chance. On September 15 Josh went home to his family. Natalie told the kids she bought something big and they should all go to the basement so they would not ruin the surprise. Josh says he nearly fell trying to “fly into the house.”

I’m 35, this is not something you want to get. to relearn everything. I would not wish this on anyone.

“There’s no better feeling in the world than getting to hug my kids again.”

Josh Trace of Curtis, battling back from COVID-19

Josh and Natalie are grateful to their kids for helping out, and to their other family members for pitching in so much. They are grateful to the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and staff at Great Plains Health, their church in McCook, and the churches in Curtis, and the community of Curtis for doing so much to help their family during this time.

Josh is grateful to his wife for getting up with him multiple times a night, feeding him, dressing him, helping him walk, taking him to his outpatient therapy in North Platte three times a week, and loving him and their family through all of it.

Neither Josh nor Natalie can work right now. Josh has been told it will be at least one year before he can return to his truck driving job, and Natalie must be home to care for Josh. A Facebook fundraiser has been set up to help the family with expenses during this road to recovery. For those wanting to help, the link can be found by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/553003382678732/4382782371829680/

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