Just like any of us who go shopping, William Crisan wasn’t planning to pick up a case of COVID-19 when he walked into a dollar store in Warren, Mich. last month. And just like any of us receiving health care, Julie Baer wasn’t expecting to contract the coronavirus when she went to the hospital with a heart attack.
Yet, both recently were added to the mounting number of COVID-19 cases across Michigan, like so many thousands of our fellow co-workers, neighbors, friends and family members.
Fortunately, both Crisan and Baer are also now are part of a lesser-known statistic: Michigan’s number of COVID-19 recoveries.
“I remember asking a couple of my nurses just don’t let me die,” said Baer, 52, who was discharged this week from MediLodge of Frankenmuth, where she spent the past couple weeks recovering in the skilled nursing facility’s COVID unit.
As we mourn each day’s new tally of confirmed cases and coronavirus deaths, it’s also time to celebrate Michigan’s COVID-19 recovery success stories. There now are nearly four times as many COVID-19 recoveries in the state as there are COVID-19 deaths, with about 16,000 of our fellow Michiganders alive and well more than 30 days after being diagnosed with the virus.
Many other patients in Michigan are currently on track for recovery in skilled nursing facilities across the state. They too will soon join the growing number of recoveries thanks to the care and dedication of nurses at MediLodge of Frankenmuth and many, many other places.
Each recovery means another co-worker, neighbor or friend has returned to their home healthy. Each success story means another family reunited. Together, they mean stronger communities across Michigan now and into the future, and each one is worthy of celebration.
“My most memorable moment was when I walked out the door at discharge,” said Kurt Heide, a COVID-19 patient who recovered for 10 days at MediLodge of GTC in Traverse City. “My grandson was there to get me, and all of the staff were outside and were clapping for me as I left. That was really nice.”
Once COVID-19 patients are no longer in critical danger from the virus, they often transfer to skilled nursing facilities such as MediLodge for continuing care. There, patients receive individualized nursing care around the clock as well as therapy services as they safely quarantine. After two negative COVID tests, the patients then are discharged and added to Michigan’s list of coronavirus recoveries.
So far, there have been 103 COVID-19 recoveries at MediLodge facilities alone.
“I was understanding when I was told he needed to go to a facility for therapy. I knew he was too weak to come home and I would not be able to care for him at home yet,” said Sheila Stokes, whose husband, John, contracted the virus while shopping and recovered for 15 days at MediLodge of St. Clair. “The virus took a lot out of him.
“It is memorable to me that the staff were able to take time each day to help John FaceTime me on an iPad. It was difficult not being able to see him for that length of time. But it was much easier knowing at least I would get to see him that way.”
Stokes said she “wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” but added that “there is a light at the end of it all.” She encourages patients to “get the care you need” so you can recover and go back home.
Betty Walker can relate. She rehabbed from COVID-19 at MediLodge of Grand Blanc, near Flint.
“Something as simple as getting out of bed had suddenly become a chore and made me dizzy, weak and short of breath,” Walker said. “Some days I really did not want to get up, but the ‘drill sergeants’ at MediLodge made me get up and get better anyway.
“Exercising and building up my strength was critical to my recovery, along with the Motown music we danced to in the hallway. Today, I feel great and ready to return home thanks to the amazing staff of MediLodge of Grand Blanc.”
Here are a few more celebratory scenes of COVID-19 recovery, each one marking a success in Michigan’s ongoing battle with the virus:
Invariably, recovered COVID-19 patients are happy to get home to their family and friends because the coronavirus is such an isolating diagnosis. In at least one case, however, the patient can’t wait to get back into a skilled nursing facility.
Julie Baer suffered a heart attack last month and went to a hospital in Saginaw for surgery to put a stent in one of her arteries. Then, after returning home, Baer got a call telling her some uncomfortable news: one of her hospital caregivers had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Baer, too, then tested positive for the coronavirus and was added to Michigan’s list of confirmed COVID-19 cases. She also began experiencing coronavirus symptoms including a cough, upset stomach and loss of taste. Most concerning, Baer was having trouble breathing.
Fortunately, Baer’s breathing stabilized at another hospital. She then went into quarantine in the COVID unit at MediLodge of Frankenmuth where her vital signs were monitored constantly. She stayed for two weeks, then was discharged Monday, May 4, and added to Michigan’s list of COVID-19 recoveries.
A Certified Nursing Assistant at MediLodge of Cass City, Baer said it was an interesting experience to be in the bed as a patient rather than at the bedside as a nurse. Now that she has recovered from COVID-19, Baer hopes to be back at work in a week to help other coronavirus patients recover at MediLodge where there’s support from a community of long term care professionals so essential and willing to care for the community they serve.
Having already triumphed through her own COVID-19 recovery, Baer is eager to rejoin her MediLodge nursing colleagues in caring about people while they care for them and in being part of more success stories for Michigan.
“There’s fear, you’re not sure what to expect and then you feel like you’re just cut off from the rest of the world,” said Baer, 52. “I want to get back and work with corona-positive people because I’ve been there. I know what they’re going through.”