MIDLAND, Texas — Time...something it does not take a whole lot of to learn how much Austin Burk loves his family.
But his time here on earth, well, it was almost cut short thanks to a novel virus, COVID-19.
“I was on a vent for 30 days, I was intubated for 25 days, I lost 80lbs…no food and no water for three weeks," Austin said. "It’s crazy.”
Austin was not vaccinated. After testing positive his condition worsened within days.
"It was so scary...I felt like we were in survival mode,"Amber, Austin's wife, said. "Everyone said 'try this, try that' and we tried it all. Everything people suggested, or we read on the internet we tried.”
Nothing seemed to work, so he was taken to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, where he stayed for 39 days.
“When I would go I would just talk to him, even though he was asleep and in a comma. He was on three sedatives and a paralytic. I would talk to him about what the kids were doing and about our days and I kept telling myself that he could hear," Amber said. "I would call the nurse several times a day to see how he was doing. Sometimes the nurse would Facetime us so the kids could tell him goodnight. If I couldn’t sleep in the night I would call and ask is he stable? That’s all I need to know so I can go back to sleep. That's how we got through it."
Got through it, but Austin's not over it.
“I’ve got pneumonia, walking is a struggle, losing 80 lbs, a third of my body weight was a struggle," Austin said.
Austin, who works as a generator salesman, is able to work from home. This is good news because he can't drive yet and his days are filled with lots of healing.
“You name it, ultrasounds, eye doctors, physical therapy. the cardiologist, the pomologist, the dentist, it’s all the things," Amber said.
But all those things are nothing if it means Austin gets more time.
“I’m so grateful...I’m so grateful I get my husband back," Amber said. "We get more time as a family. Our kids get their daddy back.”
For Austin, it's the little things he appreciates more.
“It’s dance, t-ball, golf, putting them to bed, bath time," he said. "You don’t care about if they ate their vegetables or not you just want to have that donut with them and enjoy the little things. Things don’t bother me as much you enjoy the chaos. It’s a blessing.”
A blessing, the Burks are getting more time to enjoy.