DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - An emotional goodbye at a hospital has become all too common in the pandemic.

But for one goodbye at Community Memorial in Cloquet on Wednesday, the emotion took on a different tone, joy.

“I have so much joy. I can’t explain it all,” said Steven Jarve, a patient at Community Memorial Hospital.

Steven Jarve is almost 70 years old and was released from the hospital Wednesday after battling COVID-19.

He’s been at the hospital since November 12, 2021.

The staff who saved his life, cheered as he was wheeled down the hospital’s hallways one last time.

When Jarve was first admitted, doctors said he was one step away from a ventilator.

“He was very ill when he came to us, and initially required intensive care,” said Dr. Kara Underwood, Community Memorial Hospital, Hospitalist Program Medical Director.

According to Dr. Underwood, for a few weeks, his health did not improve.

“At least four weeks I would say, things were not looking great for him. We had hospice conversations with him,” said Dr. Underwood.

His treatment utilized many traditional medications.

“We gave him medications that we use with COVID - Remdesivir, Decadron, and supported him with oxygen,” said Dr. Underwood.

According to Jarve, he also needed to develop the mental fortitude to fight for his life.

“I didn’t think I could do it in the beginning, I really did not,” said Jarve.

According to Dr. Underwood, Jarve had a turning point 2 weeks ago. The change came after he received an unexpected gift.

“The gift came from one of the occupational therapists, ornaments for his beard,” she said.

Putting the ornaments in his beard was meant to revive the motor skills he’d lost during hospitalization, but it also lifted his spirits, and he began to fight harder.

“It was a real motivator for him and is a real testament to how we give care here,” said Dr. Underwood.

Jarve was not vaccinated when he contracted the virus and he also has COPD.

According to Jarve, he didn’t get vaccinated for political reasons, but his views on the vaccine have changed.

“I said bring it on, poke me,” said Jarve.

And for others, Jarve said he has a message about the vaccine.

“By all means do it. I do not wish for anybody to go through what I went through,” said Jarve.

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