70-year-old COVID-19 survivor making strides in recovery

You can often find Michael Flor, 70, spending his time walking around the neighborhood “trying to rebuild my strength, and my balance and endurance.”

It’s hard to believe Flor was only released from Swedish Issaquah two months ago on May 5. He was first hospitalized on March 4 after falling severely ill due to Covid-19.

“Just a few weeks ago, my doctor took me off dialysis completely, that was quite emotional for both of us,” said Flor who suffered acute kidney failure during Covid-19. “Short of being told I didn’t die, probably the best news I could’ve gotten.”

His kidneys are just one major step in the recovery process. Flor had to relearn how to walk after sitting in a hospital bed for weeks. He’s regained about ten to 15 pounds since leaving the hospital.

Flor wasn’t conscious for the darkest moments. Doctors put him on a ventilator and his family even said their goodbyes to him over the phone. 

“The question came up in my mind, why me? Especially since the doctors told me you have no reason, essentially, you have no reason being alive. All your major organs failed,” said Flor. “The doctors and nurses, it still brings up a lot of emotion because they took such good care of me and saved my life.”

Flor said his answer came in the form of family and love, realizing he had an opportunity now to deepen his relationship with them.

He was also humbled thinking about the countless people who lost their lives to the coronavirus.

“I have no clue when, how, where, and that’s the insidious part of this whole thing is you don’t know, so why expose yourself unnecessarily and why expose others when you can avoid that,” said Flor about getting infected with the coronavirus. 

Flor is back to work part-time at Southeast Seattle Education Coalition. It’s a nonprofit that advocates for student equity in the Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. 

Flor and his wife Elisa Del Rosario celebrated 30 years of marriage this year, and hope to find opportunities to travel together.

“Helping inspire people,” said Flor of moving forward, “that through prayer, through the support, through their communities you can get through these things.”