4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Family shares story of surviving COVID-19

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 07, 2020

With a second surge in COVID-19 cases underway, a family from the Midwest is sharing their harrowing story about surviving the coronavirus illness.

A father, mother and son were all on ventilators, on life-support at one point.

Chuck Drungelo was the first to feel sick right after Easter. He stayed home from work but his family, including his 81-year-old mother-in-law, all eventually landed in the hospital with the virus.

“They said it looks like you have COVID pneumonia, so by Monday I was in the hospital and I gave it to my whole family,” said the dad.

“How could this happen? How could all four members of their family get this? And it just shows you how contagious it is,” said Raeann Shedd, Drungelo’s sister.

Chuck got the sickest. The ventilator wasn't enough. He was moved to an ECMO machine, which is life-support for the lungs and heart, for 19 days. He eventually got virus antibody plasma treatment that helped him turn a corner.

“You can still hear my trachea. I got a hole from the feeding tube,” said Drungelo.

Drungelo’s sister and his sister-in-law ended up having to make all the medical decisions while they were incapacitated. He was finally able to come home from a rehabilitation facility July 1.

“It’s awful because your family is struggling, and you can’t be there for them. You can’t go to the hospital. You can’t hold their hand and talk to the doctor and look them in the eye. People think it’s their right to not wear a mask. I guess in a way it is, but we should do everything we can to save each other,” said Shedd.

“My wife said the other day, if you don’t like wearing a mask, you’re not going to like wearing a ventilator,” said Drungelo

As you can imagine the family is facing a massive amount of medical bills. They have a GoFundMe page for those who would like to help.