Tom Butts spent more than 100 days in the hospital fighting the coronavirus. On Friday, he got to go home.
Pumping his arms in the air, Butts was wheeled out of a San Jose hospital on a hospital bed as a crowd cheered, clapped and rang bells. The moment came after four long and painful months filled with ups and downs.
“It got I think as worse as it could get,” Amanda McDermott, Butts’ daughter, said. “His heart rate dropped to about 30. And they luckily let my stepmom Eda go in and say her goodbyes.”
But through it all, Butts’ family had a feeling he would not go down without a fight. He never has. He’s a man who has always pushed himself to the edge of his physical abilities as a marathon runner and triathlete.
Just two years ago at the age of 64, Butts was competing in Hawaii’s Iron Man competition.
“I’m just so proud that he is the man that he is that would fight this hard,” McDermott said.
Fighting the coronavirus proved to be a different competition, and it was winning for a time.
“He has been with us in the hospital the longest thus far," Dr. Nagi Sukhvinder, Butts’ doctor, said. "He has had a really rough course. Many, many days where we didn’t know if he was going to make it the next hour, much less the next day.”
But Butts continued to fight day after day.
“The fight of this man, he’ll never give up,” his sister, Cindy Loque, said.
After being released from the hospital, Butts was sent to home care. He looked tired and weak, but he’s alive and able to whisper a couple words.
COVID-19 made him race for his life, but on Friday, Butts won.