"They gave me a 50-50 chance" says Oakes man, on a vent for 2-months with Covid | INFORUM

Just sitting up in a wheelchair and getting ready for physical therapy is progress for Steve Konkler. After leaving his house in Oakes, the week before Thanksgiving.

"I knew something was up," Conkler says.

He has yet to return. As a member of the first responder team in Oakes, he called the ambulance.

He had Covid, and after that, it was all downhill. For two months Steve was on a ventilator at Sanford in Fargo.

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"Once I got in the hospital, I don't remember anything, last half of November, all of December and January, I don't know a thing. In fact, I woke up and thought it was December and they were talking Valentines Day," Conkler says.

Family was preparing for the worst.

"Right away they said it was a 50-50 chance I would live," he says.

Now, at Fargo's newest rehab center, Post Acute Medical, physical therapist Austin Ulmer works to get Steve on the road to recovery.

"You can hang on to me and get up on the foam," Ulmer says.

It is tough, exhausting work.

"Rehab is extremely exhausting, not only respiratory, but lower extremities and abdominal," Ulmer says.

But Steve. who has watched himself come back from brink is thankful for the chance go back home soon.

"I had nightmares, and it was like, you were caught places you could not get back and you just felt like laying down and dying. But the good Lord kept me going. I am grateful to be here, I have 12-grandchildren, 3 children and a wife, so I have a lot to live for," Conkler says.

He's a statistic, but he's one who left the Covid Unit, a survivor.

Steve says his goal is to be able to get back to Oakes and walk without a walker.


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