Mesquite man with long-term symptoms of COVID-19 encourages others to get vaccinated

A man from Mesquite says he may never fully recover from what COVID-19 has done to his body.

He battled the disease for 15 months. He has brain damage, lung damage and partial paralysis. His hope is that his story is not yours.

Cesar Gonzalez survived COVID-19. But by his own admission, he says he’s a shell of the man he was before – inside and out. He wants people to know what COVID can do.

Cesar is a long-term victim of COVID, contracting the virus before there are any vaccines.

“It took my life,” he said.

“The whole family was hit by COVID in September 2020,” said his wife, Melissa Gonzalez. “He was sick. We were all sick for about a week.”

The family recovered, but Caesar got worse. The virus attacked his nervous system, taking some of his memory and motor skills.

“I can’t drive. I can’t even ride a bike. My balance is disturbed,” Cesar said. “So in terms of technicality, I really don’t have a life left.”

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Cesar was in a medical facility for months and in a medically induced coma for 16 days.

“When I woke up I couldn’t move my neck down,” he said.

Getting up from a chair is a struggle.

“He was a handyman here at home. He always did something around the house,” Melissa said. “And then when he wasn’t with the projects, he always drove his Harley.”

“I was 6’2”, 320 pounds and over, and I was cocky, “Cesar said.

“You were like the people who don’t believe. ‘It’s just a virus,” said Melissa.

“Yeah. ‘It’s just a virus. No big deal.’ Basically I commanded respect wherever I walked because that was just the way I behaved, which I regret now, ”Cesar said.

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He hopes to return to work on American Airlines but has a sense of humor in the face of his reality.

“And if that doesn’t work, well, I can still be a host at Walmart,” he said.

But Cesar warns that COVID is no laughing matter.

“If I had one wish I would make it would be for a COVID vaccine to be available when it happened to me,” he said. “Because I wouldn’t be like that.”

Cesar is hoping for someone who is not vaccinated that their story will convince them that COVID is real and that the best protection is the vaccine.

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