BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Of all the people around the Valley hospitalized for COVID-19, a Boardman man’s family was told his stay was among the longest. He went in April 4 and on Tuesday, nearly three months later, he finally went home.
Escorted by a sheriff’s deputy, the vehicle carrying Bob Rimedio pulled into Boardman High School just before 5 p.m. Waiting for him were 50 members of his family and his friends, which choked him up.
“This was wonderful. These people are beautiful. These are family and friends. This is what gets you through it,” he said.
What Rimedio got through was as bad a bout of COVID-19 as we’ve ever heard: 87 days in the hospital — 50 days on a ventilator and 30 days in the ICU, of which he has no memory of.
He said it was a scary, lonely experience.
“You know what you think about? Are you really going to make it? Even though you wake up and you look around, it’s just you and this room. You can’t talk to anybody, you see nobody. You do not see your family for months,” Rimedio said.
In the time he was gone, a new family member was born: a great, great niece.
Rimedio is still lacking feeling in his lower legs, but he’s getting better.
“My occupational therapist told me, ‘You’re going to golf next year, and just remember that.’ They were like drill sergeants but they were worth it. They did it and they made you go there and fight for it, and I’ll never give up,” he said.
“He’s a miracle, an absolute miracle. We’re just so grateful to have him home and just keep getting him stronger and get him back to his life,” said Katie Daisley, Rimedio’s daughter.
After a lap around the parking lot, Rimedio got out of the vehicle and into a wheelchair. He wanted to talk with the people who showed up, but he also had a message.
“People gotta understand, those masks, wear them. They’re important. Don’t be cute because cute gets somebody else sick sometimes and maybe not you, and then you end up like I was,” he said.
Rimedio is 69 years old and retired. He’s also 50 pounds lighter. He had rave reviews about the care he received at St. Elizabeth Boardman, Vibra Hospital and Hillside Rehabilitation.