Defense contractor back in the game after surviving COVID-19

Coronavirus

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The road to recovery has been a tough one for Portsmouth defense contractor Robert Twine.  He spent five days on a ventilator at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in early April while battling COVID-19.  

​ Twine is well-known around the shipyards of Hampton Roads. He owns Collins Machine Works in Portsmouth.  He manages the 60-year-old company that provides parts and personnel to keep the U.S. Navy’s ships ready to sail.  

Last week, he could barely manage to walk without assistance​.

“I’m just now starting to get my energy back where I feel comfortable. For a while, I had a stability problem which is standing,” said Twine, who has suffered one fall since returning home.​

Five days on a ventilator took a toll on his 66-year old body. In three weeks, he lost 25 pounds.​

“My legs actually shrunk — [I] lost movement, I lost flexibility, I couldn’t walk — when they decided to get me out of bed, I couldn’t walk​,” said Twine.

Less than two weeks later, he is still under the watchful eyes of a nurse and a physical therapist three days a week.​

Twine was among the fortunate to survive an illness that has killed more than 680 people in Virginia. He is grateful for the expert care provided at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and​ his neighbors who rolled out a big welcome for his return home. Twine doesn’t agree, but his wife Lauren says not only did the virus attack his body, she believes he may now suffer from short-term memory loss.​

“I’m not saying this is permanent — obviously I don’t know that, but it’s just what I have noticed. I never have had to repeat anything [before]​,” she said.

A recent study from JAMA Neurology shows that 40 percent of people with the disease suffered brain-related complications. ​

As Twine’s recovery continues, he is thrilled to back in the business of defense.​

“It feels great to be back at work and getting my mind going again. I went to sleep one day and I woke up in a different world,” Twine said.

Twine says he is getting stronger with each passing day and he looks forward to returning to work full-time and playing the game of golf.


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