Broadway star Nick Cordero suffers virus setback, but wife is hopeful

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Update: After speaking with "CBS This Morning," Kloots received an update on Cordero's condition. His CT scan on Wednesday showed no internal bleeding, but his lungs "are severely damaged," she said on Instagram. Doctors are trying to get him to a "stable state" so he can be taken off the ventilator.

Broadway actor Nick Cordero suffered a new setback this week in his battle against the coronavirus. The 41-year-old Tony nominee, whose right leg had to be amputated after he suffered complications from the virus, went into septic shock after developing a lung infection.

Cordero is in a medically induced coma, and has been on a ventilator for a month. 

His wife, fitness instructor and former Broadway dancer Amanda Kloots, told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King that Cordero had no fever and no cough when he first became sick, just symptoms of extreme fatigue. 

Read part of their conversation below.

Amanda Kloots: We didn't think that it was COVID, yet it was weird that he was sick at the time when this was all happening ... So we took him to the urgent care … and they said it's pneumonia.

Gayle King: So that must have given you a small sense of relief, Amanda, to hear, "Okay, I don't have COVID"?

Kloots: Yeah. In fact, we were both saying in the car, this is the only time that you're kind of like, "Woo! It's pneumonia." … We went to pick up his medications, … and for the next three days ... he just kept getting worse. … We called a friend of ours who's a doctor at Cedar Sinai and he said, "Go to the emergency room now." … This is one of the saddest parts. … We thought I would see him in two hours. You know, I just — I said, … "Call me when ya want me to come pick ya up," you know? … And so I didn't even give him a kiss or a hug because we were also kind of self-isolating from him, 'cause, you know, we have this 10-month-old baby. … And I got a call from Nick in about an hour, and he said, "Amanda, they have admitted me. I am now in a bed with oxygen. … They'll know some things in a couple hours. … Go home and I'll call you in a couple of hours."

King: Were you worried at that point, Amanda?

Kloots: I was getting a little worried at this point, yes. ... It was the next morning, at 4 a.m., he called me and he said, "Honey, they want to put me on a ventilator." … Again, we were just talking over the phone. We FaceTimed quickly, … and he's saying, "I love you. Oh my gosh. Okay," and he said, "I'm a little scared."

King: And that must have scared you, to hear him say that he was scared.

Kloots: Oh, it's terrifying. ... And to be honest, Gayle, I didn't even really understand what all of this meant. ... In the meantime, they said, "We want to start some of the COVID medicines." ... They did the deep COVID chest scrape, and it came back positive. ... He started to get better. And we were — we had plans to take him off the ventilator.

King: I saw your post, and it was so exciting. … We're thinking, "Yay! He's turned a corner."

Kloots: Yes. … He turned a corner. And then, I get a phone call that he got an infection. ... His pulse, gone, for two minutes, and they had to resuscitate his heart.

King: Talk about a roller coaster, Amanda. Two steps forward, and then a step back.

Kloots: Yes. … The call that morning was supposed to be, "We're taking him off the ventilator today 'cause he's doing so well." … This was a new infection that came in. … They said, "Amanda, we are trying to get him onto an ECMO machine as soon as possible. This will save his life."

King: What is an ECMO machine?

Kloots: It basically takes over the functions of your heart and lungs to run your heart and lungs outside of your body. … One of these cannula tubes was restricting blood flow to Nick's right leg. … And they just said, "Amanda, unfortunately, … the body is trying to save this leg, but it's fighting it. And in return could cause a lot of damage to the body."

King: To put it simply ... it sounds like you had to make a decision between saving his leg or saving his life.

Kloots: You know, Gayle, yes, he's a dancer, he's an actor, he's a performer. ... It was not an easy decision to make.

King: So where do we stand today? The doctors have said there's no reason why he can't wake up.

Kloots: Well, … today was supposed to be putting in a trach and a feeding tube. Unfortunately, this morning, his blood count was really, really low. … Low blood count can mean that he's internally bleeding from somewhere. So … now, we have to wait.

King: I can't imagine what it's been like for you. … Your optimism is so infectious. And because you believe, you give us all reason to believe.

Kloots: I feel like there is an army of people behind him, behind us. … And I just believe — I get chills saying it — I just believe that he will wake up.

King: You've started this social media movement, "Wake up, Nick," #wakeupNick.

Kloots: I didn't even plan on it, you know, this way. ... And then, as everything started unfolding. ... I just started this because I thought, you know, Nick would love this.

King: What would he love about this?

Kloots: When he hears that everyone is playing his song every day … and praying for him, and now it's on the radio, Gayle. He won't believe it. ... I go to the hospital every day. I stand outside of Cedars. I play Nick's song. ... I cheer him on from outside of Cedar Sinai every day.

King: I just feel so positive, after listening to you. I mean, Nick's song, "Live Your Life." ... "Who understands how stars —"

Kloots: "— align." 

King: "If one's shooting past then I'll consider it a sign that you are —"

Kloots: "— still alive." I know. He wrote these words, like, years ago. … It just resonates with what everyone's going through at this time, you know? Just to live your life and ... just be so grateful for it, you know?

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