Ewa Beach man wakes from medically induced coma in COVID-19 battle

His first step: Take a hospital selfie to let his loved ones know he’ll be alright.

Ewa Beach man recovering from coronavirus posts hospital selfie

By Lynn Kawano | May 3, 2020 at 4:51 PM HST – Updated May 3 at 6:23 PM

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Coby Torda shocked his family when he posted a selfie early Sunday morning from his hospital bed at Kaiser Permanente, where he has been recovering from the coronavirus for 44 days.

“I woke up and checked my Facebook and I saw a selfie of my son,” said Peggy Torda-Saballa, Torda’s mother, “I feel like I can breathe again, you know, I’m so happy, I’m so thankful, I’m so grateful.”

No one has been able to visit Torda but staff at the hospital have been holding the phone next to him so loved ones could communicate.

The Waikiki bartender was in a medically induced coma since mid March, on a ventilator, in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It was scary for us. We thought we were going to lose him, we really thought we were going to lose him,” Torda-Saballa said the first three weeks in April were very discouraging. Doctors reported minimal progress and then Torda developed secondary pneumonia from the endotracheal tube.

“They kept saying he’s very very sick.”

Days after taking him to the hospital, Torda-Saballa and Torda’s husband, Scotty Stapes, both tested positive for COVID-19. They were able to recover at home with mild symptoms and have had two, negative test results.

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Torda can now breathe on his own for hours each day and is getting stronger, “They’ll turn off the ventilator and let him breathe on his own, and yesterday, he had two trials which he did very well.”

Torda still cannot speak and requires the ventilator, he’s already lost 85 pounds, “Well he’ll be happy about that,” his mother said with a laugh.

Torda-Saballa and Stapes dropped off his phone at the hospital Saturday, after being notified that he was conscious and awake, but they didn’t expect him to post the selfie so soon.

His mother said the family is grateful and overwhelmed by the outpouring of aloha from the community.

She said Torda won’t be able to leave the hospital until he can breathe on his own and use a walker.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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