California nurse leaves hospital after 8-month ordeal with COVID-19

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Pambuan’s exit, ironically, coincided with the recent rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to medical staff, as well as an overwhelming increase in coronavirus infections that have overwhelmed hospitals, and ICUs in particular, across California. . (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)

Pambuan said she can’t remember the four months she spent hanging on a breathing apparatus – from early May to early September – but recalls waking up for the first time after deep sedation unable to move her feet. ends.

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With encouragement from the nurses and her daughter, Pambuan said she became determined to regain her mobility and her life.

“I said, ‘No, I’m going to fight this COVID,’” she said. “I start to move my hand (and) a physiotherapist comes and says, ‘Oh, you move your hands’ and I said,’ Oh, I’m going to fight, I’m going to fight. I try to wiggle my toes. I will fight it. ”

Pambuan has spent the last months of her hospital stay in physical and respiratory rehabilitation and will continue to recover from home, making peace, she said, with a change of pace.

Intensive care unit nurse Merlin Pambuan, 66, sits at home with her dog after being released from Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center where she spent 8 months with coronavirus disease in Long Beac on December 21, 2020. Photo par Lucy Nicholson /REUTERS

“It’s going to be very difficult for me,” she said. “But I have to accept it, that I’m going to be on oxygen for a while and slow down a bit. ”

When and if she will return to work in the ICU remains an open question, she said.

In the meantime, Pambuan said she feels indebted to her colleagues for their “truly professional” care, grateful for the support of those close to her and newly convinced of the power of optimism.

His message to others in his place – “Don’t give up hope. Beat you. Fight, because look at me, you know. I come home and walk.

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