A San Antonio man who was hospitalized with Covid-19 the same week as his wedding got the chance to say “I do” with the help of compassionate hospital staff.
Carlos Muniz and Grace Leimann were scheduled to marry in mid-July when their nuptial plans were put on hold after Muniz became ill with the virus, according to hospital staff.
The groom-to-be was admitted to San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital on July 15 and was in the hospital’s Covid-19 unit for almost 10 days before his situation deteriorated and he was transferred to intensive care. There, he was placed on an ECMO machine as a last effort to save his life, according to the hospital staff.
As soon as nurse Matt Holdridge learned about his patient’s canceled marriage ceremony, the idea to for a wedding at the hospital came to him immediately. Since tending to a patient’s emotional needs often assists in physical recovery, the nurse said he knew he needed to make a wedding happen to keep his struggling patient fighting.
“The ball just kind of got rolling from there. A lot of people started volunteering for it. Before you knew it, every nurse in the unit knew about it and was trying to figure out ways to make it more special,” Holdridge said.
In the days after Muniz learned his wedding plans were being revived, his condition began to as well.
“We were able to remove his feeding tube and he was able to eat on his own and drink on his own … everything about his overall picture got better and better,” Holdridge said.
To prepare for the big day, Holdridge bought matching tuxedo t-shirts for himself and the groom, and told the patient he would be his best man. Muniz agreed.
On Tuesday, August 11, the happy couple were joined in matrimony at a socially distanced wedding attended by immediate family and the hospital workers who had helped care for Muniz over the last month. Sweet wedding instrumentals played while nurses wheeled the grinning groom down a corridor in his hospital bed to await his beautiful bride.
“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room given everything he’s been through and everything he had gone through to get to this point,” Holdridge said. “It was a pretty magical event.”
At the end of the ceremony, the bride thanked their families for their support and the hospital workers for their commitment to their patients.
“I know you have a difficult job. But just know that you are appreciated by many people,” she said.
Holdridge says the wedding meant a lot to hospital staff, who have faced challenging times during the ongoing pandemic as well.
“We needed that just as much as they did,” he said. “It was a big motivational booster for our staff just to be able to continue to fight for our patients and our community here.”
Muniz has continued to improve, said Holdridge. A day after the wedding, he was able to transfer from his bed to a chair for the first time. As of early Friday morning, Muniz was taken off the ECMO machine.