LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - He is a familiar face to our WAVE 3 News family and when he came down with the coronavirus it really hit home. It put a face that we all know with the disease.
We all are guilty of it, taking the little things for granted, little things, like walking to the mailbox to get the mail.
Jody Demling doesn’t take it for granted anymore. He made that walk on Monday for the first time in a month.
“It’s been a really long month, I don’t remember some of it obviously,” he said.
It started on Wednesday, March 25.
“The first thing I really felt was chills, I was really chilled, I had a fever,” Jody recalled.
The Demling family went into self quarantine that night for a week.
“I felt like I had kind of turned the corner and then that night about 11 o’clock I started coughing, and by the time, the next morning, when I woke up, I could barely breathe,” he remembered. “I could not catch my breath. You know I remember, the one thing I remember, it’s crazy, the little things you remember, but I remember that Thursday morning, I remember waking up at some point and sneezing and it hurt so bad, it felt like my bones were cracking.”
On Thursday, April 2, his temperature got to 102 and his wife, Angela, called EMS.
“One of the worst parts of this whole thing for me, was when I left in the EMS and they were in their HAZMAT suits, they did a great job of getting me out of the house cause I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t hug my wife, I couldn’t hug my two kids, and that’s when it hit me and that’s when I really got scared," he said.
On day two in the hospital, the news came that his treatment would include some time on a ventilator.
“Once he got to the hospital I got really scared and once, when I talked to the doctor that Friday morning and she said they were going to put him on a ventilator I had an emotional breakdown for sure,” Angela said.
“She showed me my chest x-ray and I could just tell the look on her face that it wasn’t good,” Jody recalled, “and since then I’ve had a doctor tell me that when he looked at my chest x-ray, he’s not sure how I’m still here.”
Angela was stuck at home, unable to visit or talk to her husband. What got her through it?
“Family and friends and the amount of people, amount of text messages I received and Facebook messages and Twitter messages on how everyone was praying for Jody, it really, really helped me,” she said.
It worked, on the night of Wednesday, April 8, they started to wean Jody off the ventilator.
He was foggy, but does remember a few things.
“I was awake, um, as a matter of fact the first thing I remember was Kevin Harned on my screen, and doing some breaking news radar, on the radar,” he said.
There were some storms in the area that night and the WAVE 3 News weather team was jumping in at the commercial breaks.
Angela remembered the call the next morning, “we just took your husband off the ventilator and he wants to talk to you, that was the best ever.”
“I talked to Angela and then Cassidy and Tanner both got on phone and it’s just something, you know I very easily could have not come off that ventilator and not ever talked to them again, but God has a plan for me and for us for the future and it worked out for the best for us,” Jody said.
Nurses and doctors lined the hallways five days later when Jody was released from the Norton Brownsboro Hospital.
“When the door opened, there must have been 50-60 nurses and doctors and people from the hospital there and some of them had little paper flowers that they handed me and they had music going and they were cheering and for a second I forgot that my family is at the end of this, because it was really cool and then we took the turn outside and there was my family and that’s when I kind lost it, it was pretty emotional, but it was worth it, it was awesome,” he said.
Angela was seeing her husband, in person, for the first time in 13 days.
“I could tell that he had lost weight, I could tell that he looked a little drained, you know from everything, but it was just the best feeling, just the best feeling,” she said.
That night, he sat on his front porch as a parade of cars drove by the Demling house to welcome him home.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed, very overwhelmed, you know I told somebody last week, I’m used to being the person doing the story, asking the questions," he said.
His fight is far from over, the road to recovery continues.
“This thing is the real deal, like, it’s gonna take me a long time to get back to where I want to be where I was in my life, I lost 30 pounds, I lost strength, the stamina, just different things that it’s gonna take a long time. This thing is the real deal," Jody said.
He heard from all kinds of coaches, past and present, from every current head coach of every sport to former coaches Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino, every member of the current football and basketball staffs.
He has no idea where or how he contracted the virus.
Rehab continues with the goal to be able to swing a golf club in the near future. With the odds he’s already overcome, he might just make a hole in one in his first round.