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Two Marblehead Fathers Recovered from the Coronavirus

MARBLEHEAD -- A month ago, it wasn’t looking like the Glixman-Padulsky family would have much to celebrate on Father’s Day this year. What a difference a month can make.

On Friday, Stacey Padulsky could barely hold back tears as she shared her family’s joyful news. Her husband, Phil, and father, Joseph Glixman, have recovered from severe COVID-19 illness after they both spent weeks on a ventilator in Salem Hospital. Her mother, Bonnie, also spent a week in the hospital for a less severe form of the coronavirus, and is now fully recovered. After spending 49 days in the hospital, Phil returned to their Marblehead home on Thursday, where he was greeted with a motorized parade that included fire trucks and at least 50 cars.

“It was so surreal,” Stacey said. “There wasn’t a dry eye. It was awesome.”

Glixman is still recovering at Spaulding Rehab. He’s still unable to walk and is a little disoriented, but he’s coming out of it, Stacey said.

“He’s a fighter, my dad,” said Stacey, 56. “He worked up until he got sick at 79 years old. My dad is always doing, doing, doing. He’s very strong, (always) out and about. This killed him to get sick.”

A stint at a rehab center, where Phil also spent some time recovering before returning home, is a vastly different scenario from the weeks both men spent in the Intensive Care Unit at Salem Hospital.

“It was a really bad time,” Stacey said. “We thought we were going to lose both my father and my husband.”

Both men were diagnosed with the coronavirus in early May, and were admitted to Salem Hospital on the same day, May 8. They were taken in separate ambulances that responded to their shared residence. Joseph and his wife, Bonnie, live in an apartment that the Padulskys built for them alongside their home.

Phil, 56, said he left work one Friday because he was feeling ill. He thought it was just a bug, and took a nap, but at dinner that night, he noticed he couldn’t taste anything.

He remembers telling his wife that he thought he had the coronavirus, got tested the next day, and his results came back positive that Sunday. His illness quickly became severe.

As he was having trouble breathing, his doctors decided to put him on a ventilator on May 11. Joseph wasn’t too far behind -- he was placed on a ventilator on May 24, Stacey said.

Phil needed to remain on his ventilator for two and a half weeks, which required doctors to place him in a medically induced coma. To make matters worse, his kidneys failed completely and he had to undergo dialysis, Stacey said.

Doctors also had a hard time keeping his fever down. At one point, his temperature got as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit, Stacey said.

“It was really touch and go for awhile,” she said. “It was really scary. Everything was going wrong, and all of a sudden, he turned the corner.”

For Phil, however, he said it was like taking a three-week nap. He said he was in “la la land,” but does remember having bad dreams and hallucinating while he was sedated.

“My wife, she’s the rock,” Phil said. “I can’t thank her enough. What she went through, she’s a real trouper. She deserves a medal. She held it together. Imagine almost losing your husband, your father is in the ICU and your mother is in the hospital.”

Along with the doctors and nurses at Salem Hospital, Phil and Stacey credit their future daughter-in-law, Mia Marcello, for his recovery.

Marcello, a pharmacist, played a crucial role in advocating for Phil to receive a new treatment, which consists of a plasma that is taken from former COVID-19 patients and given to patients fighting the coronavirus.

Phil was the first person at Salem Hospital to receive the serum. Because of Marcello, the hospital was able to get a supply, which was later given to Stacey’s father, Joseph.

Marcello also advocated for Phil to receive remdesivir, an antiviral drug that has been gaining traction as a COVID-19 treatment.

“The doctors and nurses at Salem saved my life, along with my daughter-in-law,” Phil said. “She was actually my angel.”

After more than a month of uncertainty, the family is now able to move forward. Their son, Lance, may be making the trip from Rhode Island for Father’s Day.

And Phil and Stacey are planning to get their new cockapoo puppy in September. A new dog wasn’t necessarily part of their long-term plans.

Barely able to speak after regaining consciousness, “puppy” was the only word Phil could muster during a video chat with his family. Following some confusion, Phil wrote down the word. I think he wants a puppy, the doctors told Stacey. “He’s getting it,” she told them.

At Salem Hospital, the couple decided upon a name: Will, which was chosen because Phil had the will to survive. “My worst enemy, I wouldn’t wish it on them as far as what I went through -- it’s a terrible disease,” Phil said. “I have a new perspective on life. I appreciate everything and everyone.”

BY | June 19, 2020