CODY — Ray Maple found his friend John Treese lying naked on the floor nearly unresponsive.
“If it had been another 24 hours, he’d of been dead,” said Maple, an emergency medical technician. “I know the signs.”
Treese, 85, caught COVID-19 last December. He had no idea how long he had been on the ground, but Maple said it appeared he hadn’t eaten or consumed liquids for quite some time and that his home was “hotter than hell.”
“I was down for the count,” Treese said.
He remembered Maple asking him, “‘What the hell are you doing down there?’”
Maple already knew Treese was sick from visiting him a few days prior, but at that point he had still not tested positive for COVID-19 despite multiple visits to the emergency room in recent days.
“There’s nothing wrong with me – the hell there wasn’t,” Treese said. “What this disease does is go after your lungs. It’s going to kill you.”
Each time he blew his nose a bloody tissue would result.
For a man who served in the Army and said he has never felt the need for a doctor, it was a very worrisome sign. A world-class clay shooter and gunsmith, Treese has already had enough adventures for one life.
“I never look at myself as being old,” he said. “I could go in a bar right now and get in a street fight.”
Maple had already called Cody Police to perform a welfare check about three days before, but Treese had refused these services.
Shortly after that, one of Treese’s neighbors knocked on his door and reportedly got no answer. Maple decided to call Treese himself and after about a half-dozen calls with no answer, he went over to Treese’s house to see what was going on for himself.
As soon as Maple saw what kind of state Treese was in, he called the paramedics and Treese was immediately given the medical attention he needed.
It was just a little bit of redemption for the many times Treese took Maple to Bozeman for eye doctor appointments in the past.
Treese was in West Park Hospital for about 17 days before he was released. He described the experience as a pain, but said he was treated like a king by the hospital’s staff. He found Cody Regional Health to be the best hospital he’s ever attended.
“They were the neatest people, the funnest people,” Treese said.
He was particularly tickled when offered a piece of apple pie and ice cream for dessert.
“I said, ‘I’ll take that,’” he said. “They treated me so good, those people were so neat.”
But more than anything Treese considers himself lucky. People who were admitted to the hospital immediately before and after him for COVID-19 both died, he said. More than a month after the incident, he still had minor breathing issues but most of the symptoms had cleared up.
“I had it bad,” he said.