JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida sun hydrated Fabian Granado's worn skin as he walked into his temporary home Tuesday afternoon.
It's Day 174 for Granado; a new day, a new life.
"I'm used to seeing the same four walls all day everyday," Granado said.
Fabien was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Aug. 11, 2021. He was not vaccinated.
"I had the coughs. My roommates in the middle of the night one night got me out of bed, very reluctantly. They got me an ambulance, got me to the hospital. I was in bad condition, apparently my heart stopped a couple times," Granado said.
Granado is from Texas and came to Jacksonville to attend commercial diving school.
Shortly after arriving at UF Health, Granado was put in a medically induced coma for two months.
Granado was put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine to help pump oxygen into his blood.
"There was a time period where his lungs were doing really nothing. His lungs were so damaged, were so stiff and injured that they were unable to do gas exchange," Intensive Care Unit at UF Health North Co-Medical Director,
Dr. Joseph R. Shiber, M.D., said.
The ECMO treatment gradually helped Granado make progress.
"Getting me up just to sit up on the side of the bed that was a big win for me it took me a while," he said.
Standing by Granado's side every day was his father, Rene.
"Fabian's always been my bestfriend from the time he was born I was the first one to hold him and his mom," Rene said. "If Fabian was going to have any chance of surviving this I needed to be there and I know that," he added.
Rene was the first to hold Fabian as a baby, the first to greet him out of his coma and the first to walk him out of UF Health this afternoon.
The two flanked by rows of health care workers wearing 'Fabian Strong' t-shirts.
"I came to Florida from Texas thinking I was going to bury my son. This wonderful staff here they saved my sons lungs and we're able to walk home and we're going to take God's message forward and we're going to tell people," Rene said.
Fabian will undergo about a week of rehab at Brooks Rehabilitation before he drives back to Texas with his father.
"Everyone here [UF Health] is amazing, keeping me alive. It's also part of God's will as well," Fabian said.