MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Toby Janiga said it started with a migraine after work in late March. His symptoms forced him to stay home from his work as a cashier, which for him was unusual.
“I was not feeling good,” Janiga said. “And for me to call off work is not normal.”
A week later, he was taken to a hospital on April 8. It would be the first of four. His family said he spent six weeks on a ventilator before finally getting better.
He was in rehab learning how to walk again with the virus resurfaced and he needed a tracheotomy to breath.
He said he was worried he would have to spend the rest of his life in a hospital.
After more than 100 days in the hospital, Janiga is on the mend while repairing his relationship with his daughter, Annabell Fisk.
“You never really know what you have until it starts to get taken away from you,” Fisk said. “When something like this happens, it changes your perspective and it gives you a second glance to look at things and realize there’s a lot that you can lose.”
A second chance that also comes with a survivor’s warning.
“This virus is the real deal and it’s scary,” Janiga said. “You can’t take things for granted life’s too short.”
He’s hoping he can get back to work by the fall for a few anniversary. His fifth anniversary at the Big Lots store is in September and his 20th with the company is in October.
- View more: Michigan COVID-19 data