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  • Megann Horstead

‘I wasn’t sure I was going to make it:‘ Downers Grove official recovering from battle with COVID-19

On Christmas morning, members of Rich Kulovany’s family faced the grim reality that their father might not survive his fight with COVID-19.

“We weren’t ready to say goodbye to him yet,” said Kulovany’s daughter, Jen Kulovaný Ostrum. “That was an absolutely traumatizing thing, mostly because it went from ‘he was sick, but he was fine’ to ‘he was going to die.’ We weren’t prepared.”

Kulovany’s wife Kathleen echoed her daughter’s sentiment.

“It was very hard,” she said. “On Christmas Day, I think we all knew what could happen, but I think we were all in denial, or at least I was.”

Indeed, Kulovany, a Downers Grove commissioner, nearly died from complications of the virus, but four months after his family was told he might lose his fight, he’s battling back from a virus that he described as “insidious.”

“It’s relentless,” Kulovany said of the virus that has taken the lives of 573,000 Americans.

“It comes in very much like waves, and when you’re at a low point you think you’re out of the woods that’s when it comes in and slams you against the rocks,” said Kulovany, who has spent time in a hospital, specialty hospital and a rehabilitation facility.

“There is so many ups and downs with this,” he said. “It’s very much you take one step forward and two steps backwards.”

Kulovany described his experience with the virus as “relentless” and added that he continues to experience muscle weakness, coughing and a burning sensation in his feet.