Beloved Eanes ISD custodian who spent 9 months battling COVID-19 is now back home

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — After nearly nine months, Albino Hernandez is home.

The former Eanes ISD custodian spent months in the hospital fighting for his life after contracting COVID-19 late last summer.

“I keep thinking, ‘How did I get it?'” Hernandez would ask himself while lying in the hospital on dialysis, a ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a life support machine.

It’s one of the several things he thought about while in the hospital. At one point, he thought he would die.

“I would hear people say that those who had COVID-19 would only last five or six days before dying and when I was in the hospital I would think, ‘I only have two days left.’ I imagined myself in a box just ashes,” he said.

But he remained positive. So did his family.

“He’s home, so we’re very blessed,” said Janie Hernandez, Albino’s daughter.

Hernandez’s family is not alone. The Eanes ISD community also showed support for the beloved custodian. They welcomed him home with a car parade.

I felt very happy,” Hernandez said. You could see the smile as he sat in his front yard watching car after car pass by. Drivers honking and passengers shouting messages and waving signs that read, “We love you, Albino.”

“I miss them all very much.”

Today, Hernandez’s days are filled with doctors and physical therapy appointments. His body took a hit while he spent months in the hospital. He dropped 60 pounds and is currently working on walking again. Doctors are trying to determine why his right knee is giving Hernandez issues.

There’s a fundraiser account set up for anyone who’d like to donate to help his family with medical bills.

“Little by little we’ll figure things out medically wise and he’ll be back to normal,” his daughter said. “I have faith.”

Despite it all, Hernandez is thankful to be alive, and he hopes others will stay safe.

“Take care of yourself,” he said to the community.

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