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Oconto County man shares story of COVID-19 recovery

Leisner needed a ventilator and after a few days he started to feel better, until suddenly the virus tightened its grip on his health.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:38 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We first told you Wednesday how the community came together for an Oconto County man who beat COVID-19.

Now, we’re learning more about Ryan Leisner’s battle with the virus, after he tested positive in mid-July.

“I struggled really had to breathe, and I struggled the whole day with it. Finally, I was just like, I need to go get this checked out. I could barely walk without stopping to take a few breaths, to catch my wind it was that bad,” said Ryan.

He went to HSHS Saint Mary’s in Oconto Falls to get checked out.

“I had to stop six times just to make it into the hospital, and once I got into the hospital, the first thing they said, you probably have COVID.”

The test came back positive and Ryan was transferred to St. Mary’s in Green Bay.

He needed a ventilator and after a few days he started to feel better, until suddenly the virus tightened its grip on his health.

“One thing just turned for the worst and next thing I know, I’m waking up out of a coma after 5 weeks,” said Ryan. “The first thing, I couldn’t move any of my limbs, I could barely move my fingers.”

By then it was late August and Ryan had finally broken a fever, which was in the low 100s.

Two negative COVID-19 tests later, he was transferred out of intensive care and to Madison to start rehab for the next three months.

“During that time they were able to take care of me long enough where I started to get my speech back with a speech box, starting to move my arms a bit, starting to move my legs,” said Ryan.

Ryan’s family and friends welcomed him home Wednesday night from Madison, with a fire department escort.

“I didn’t expect it, it’s an unbelievable experience. Coming home, seeing all the vehicles along the side of the road, the lights, all the welcome home signs, it was pretty cool,” said Ryan, while thanking the fire department and his family for showing him how much they care.

Ryan says he’s not sure how he got the virus, but suspects his immune system was a bit weak from having his appendix removed in late May.

“I’m lucky to be one of the few individuals that have survived as bad as I was with the coma, and how COVID almost took me out. It was really touch and go for a while,” said Ryan.

As he counts his blessings and continues down the road to recovery, he’s encouraging others to stay vigilant.

“Live your life, be as safe as possible, if you need to go out, go out, but if you don’t, stay home.”

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