Metro-area man in medically induced coma due to COVID-19, wife recovering

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UPDATE: Robert Dennis was released from the hospital and is recovering at a rehabilitation center, where he remains on oxygen.


CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A local couple contracted COVID-19. Now the husband is comatose in the intensive care unit, while the wife is recovering. She is speaking out about how fast the virus tore through their family.

“He said, ‘If I don’t live through this, just know, you were the only person who has ever really loved me in my life,'” Suzanne Dennis said.

High school sweethearts, Suzanne and Robert Dennis have raised three daughters and welcomed five grandchildren into their family.

But the couple that spent the last three decades together is now forced to be apart.

“That’s the worst part. You can’t be there for him,” Dennis said.

Robert, 58, is in a medically induced coma at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, battling COVID-19. His wife said Robert — a beloved teacher at Overland High School and girls basketball coach at Grandview High School — looks nothing like the healthy man who has 30 marathons under his belt.

“He’s on a ventilator, completely paralyzed and in a coma,” Suzanne said.

Robert started showing symptoms of COVID-19 on March 20. Suzanne said he was vomiting, had a high temperature and diarrhea.

“We called Kaiser Permanente on Monday and was told he wasn’t sick enough and didn’t have enough of the symptoms,” Suzanne said. But Robert’s condition worsened and by March 27, he was rushed into the ICU. Test results later showed he was positive for COVID-19.

Suzanne said it’s possible he contracted COVID at the semi-finals basketball tournament in early March. A week after Robert became sick, Suzanne contracted coronavirus. The couple’s daughters were scared for the outcome.

“They voiced, ‘we can’t lose you both — you’ve got to fight through this.’ But you feel so hopeless and helpless because what am I fighting with? They give you nothing. There’s no medications for this. There’s nothing you can do,” Suzanne said.

After 18 days in quarantine, Suzanne is finally feeling better. But she is frustrated when people don’t take social distancing seriously.

“I just want to rattle their teeth and show them how a healthy man – how easy it is to get it. If you like playing Russian roulette, then go ahead and do all those things.”

Suzanne is praying each day that her husband will pull through and return home. Doctors told her Robert was able to take a few breaths on his own.

“We don’t know what this road is going to be, but yeah, he’ll be home with us.”

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