Suburban man who got double lung transplant at Northwestern Memorial survives COVID for 2nd time

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Sunday, January 23, 2022
Suburban man who got double lung transplant got COVID for 2nd time
Brian Kuhns underwent a double lung transplant due to the damage a months-long battle with COVID-19 did to his body. Then he got COVID again.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- When we first met Brian Kuhns in 2020, he had just come home from Northwestern Memorial Hospital after contracting COVID and surviving a double lung transplant.

He needed a wheelchair to move and was confined to his home taking 40 pills a day. Now he's walking and working.

RELATED: Double lung transplant COVID-19 survivor reflects on rising hospitalizations and deaths, offers advice

"I'm working a little bit I just answering the phones, you know because I'm pretty weak still," he said. "I can't do what I used to do, you know, so I do that for a couple hours, and then I go, you know, just hanging at home, man, 'cause you know I'm still worried. I actually got the COVID again."

You heard that right. This double lung transplant survivor contracted COVID for a second time just this month, and was hospitalized for two days. After his lung transplant in 2020 his doctors gave a grave warning.

"They said if I got COVID again, I'd probably die. So I was scared. I didn't go anywhere, you know what I mean?" Kuhns said.

Now, after recovering from COVID a second time, Kuhns is hospitalized again at Northwestern with an infection related to his lung transplant. But he said he is still pushing forward, and you should too.

Hang in there," he advised. "Just keep going, just try to get through it. There's light at the end of the tunnel."

That's what Northwestern Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences professor Dr. Sheehan Fisher said as well. He advises to make a plan to manage persistent anxiety over COVID as we mark two years since the first case was identified in the U.S.

"Try to create a plan, weekly and monthly, of what types of activities they will engage in, what types of normalcy can they create. What, so that they don't have to make a decision, every single time, like instead of almost reinventing the wheel every time, they can follow their guideline of what they feel safe doing," he said.

Fisher also said to rely on your friends and family for support like Kuhns does.

"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here, you know? Because they helped me through it all, got me back up on my feet. They did everything," he said.