An 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who spent 81 days on a ventilator in a Pennsylvania hospital as he battled coronavirus is thrilled to be home in time to celebrate Rosh Hashana with his family.
Woidislawsky, whose remaining relatives in Poland were killed during the Holocaust, moved to Israel as a young boy and later served in the Israeli army. He and his wife Rita came to the United States in 1966 and eventually settled in Philadelphia.
Before Woidislawsky contracted COVID-19 he led an active lifestyle, participating in some kind of physical activity – including tennis, horseback riding and even waterskiing – up to six times a week. But the virus threatened to rob him of his joy.
“He was intubated and was asleep for close to 60 days,” Rita Woidislawsky said. “In an induced coma, paralyzed basically.”
Woidislawsky, who said his care team at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia has been calling him a hero, added that he was determined to overcome the illness.
“Whatever it took to survive, I survived,” he said.
Woidislawsky described coronavirus as “horrible,” and said he doesn’t want anyone else to have to go through what he went through.
He credits his pre-COVID-19 strength with helping him to survive the illness and said his main goal is to regain the strength he had just a few months ago. He encouraged others to remain on the go and to not let age slow them down.
“Anybody getting up in age, don’t ever stop moving, exercising or doing sport.”