HOUSTON — Colby Vondenstein continues to recover from COVID-19. The Crosby man tested positive for the virus just days after spending Christmas with his family. Vondenstein’s family contracted COVID-19, too. They recovered, but Vondenstein’s health deteriorated quickly.
The 24-year-old father of three was rushed to a northeast Harris County hospital in early January before he was transferred to Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. His team of doctors at Methodist said Vondenstein had only days to live in February when he received the double lung and kidney transplant.
Less than two months after the surgeries, Vondenstein had breathing tubes removed from his body. He can now eat solid food and is walking for a longer period of time each day.
“I’m actually using a regular walker,” said the chemical plant worker who needed a machine to lift him out of a wheelchair just two weeks ago. “I’m eating solid food.”
He will begin physical therapy later this week.
“Everything’s just falling into place,” Vondenstein said. “By the grace of God and all these good doctors taking care of me."
“He’s made very rapid progress,” said Dr. Howard Huang, Vondenstein’s pulmonologist. With no underlying health conditions or comorbidities, Huang said, “it’s hard to say,” why Vondenstein’s lungs and kidneys failed. Vondenstein donated his old lungs to doctors for research so they can learn more about the pathology of COVID-19.
“He’s my hero,” Sandy Mendez said of her son. “He’s a fighter and faith has gotten us to where we’re at today.”
Colby Vondenstein is not going to physically be able to work for the next year. His family is inviting you to a benefit at the Crosby Fairgrounds on May 8.
Here is the flyer for the benefit:
“Even though he’s gotten a transplant and has made significant improvement in his recovery, he has a lot of rehab ahead of him,” Huang said of daily tasks like getting out of bed and standing up without assistance.
Doctors say it might take a few weeks of physical therapy before Vondenstein can be released. The young father is praying he will be released soon so he can see his children.