BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Thursday is the day that has kept Nolan Valenti holding on for the last two-and a-half months.
After five weeks in the ICU at Baton Rouge General literally fighting for his life, and another four weeks in rehab trying to regain his strength, Valenti finally got his first chance to see his children, Jaedon, Tripp, and Harper in person.
It was a moment that left his children speechless, but Valenti had the perfect words to describe the moment.
“It felt like having a newborn,” Valenti said. “It was that kind of joy.”
It is this moment and the embrace given to him by each of his kids that has kept him alive and pushed him to fight on against a virus that he said killed him twice while he was in the ICU.
“I was on the vent for three weeks,” he said. “I told the doctor before he put me on the vent, I said just give me a shot man, keep me close, I’m a fighter, I’ve got a lot of people praying for me. Ended up coding twice but they brought me back and I was able to pull through.”
He has been at Baton Rouge Rehab Hospital for the last several weeks. During his time in the ICU, Valenti lost more than 100 pounds and most of his strength. His mom, Susan Valenti, said he had to relearn how to eat and is currently working to be able to walk again.
Valenti said the whole ordeal has changed his outlook on the virus.
“I didn’t take it serous when it first came out,” he said. “I was one of those guys who thought it was played up too much and when it hit me it really opened my eyes. It’s real, it’s dangerous. It messed me up man. I’m busted up and I’ve got a long road to go but Covid is the real deal.”
While he has made strides in his recovery, he is not ready to go home yet. He still has work to do before he is released, but Thursday is just a taste of what is waiting for him when he goes home for good.
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