“Never give up”: Fall River man hospitalized for COVID-19 since Christmas reunites with family

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – A Fall River man is back home and recovering after being hospitalized with COVID-19 since Christmas.

27-year-old David Rochester Jr. spent more than 150 days in a hospital bed. Almost 60 of those were spent in a coma on a ventilator.

He says he never thought he’d live to see the day he returned home again.

“I thought this is it, these are the four walls I’m going to see forever,” Rochester said. “I kept my faith and I never gave up. That’s the biggest thing: never give up.”

Rochester was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve with double pneumonia. He woke up 56 days later out of a coma.

“I woke up paralyzed, incubated, ventilator in my throat, can’t move so I’m freaking out. It was a very scary experience,” Rochester said. “I was told I wasn’t going to make it about four times. They told my parents and my family to prepare for the worst.”

Family and doctors had to fill him in on everything. He had to re-learn how to stand and breathe on his own and he is still learning how to walk. But somehow, slowly, but surely, he started to recover.

“It’s hard to describe the feelings,” Rochester said. “It was an emotional rollercoaster going six months without seeing my kids and without being able to hold my family. I cried like a baby.”

For the first time since Christmas, he got to hug his 9-year-old son again and hold his 10-month old daughter. Rochester says he has a new appreciation for life going forward.

“I value life a lot differently now and cherish it a lot more,” Rochester said. “And that’s the message I have for everybody is to cherish it because in an instant it could be over.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Fall River, Massachusetts, News