PHOENIX — After spending seven months in the hospital after contracting COVID-19, an Arizona woman was well enough to return home.
Here is Claudia Patterson's story.
Patterson, 55, was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in July 2021 to be treated for COVID-19. Her symptoms were serious enough that she had to be placed on a ventilator, was sedated for two months, and eventually placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — typically referred to as ECMO, which is often a last treatment option for patients.
"You're sitting there in one position. I had a trach collar on that had to be lined up for me to breathe. It was a lot, and I didn’t think I could make it at times. There were times where I just said ‘God just take me,'" she said.
Her heart stopped four times while at the hospital, and she nearly needed a lung transplant, she said.
"You just don’t realize how much you need your lungs and breath because you just do it," she said. "I will never take anything for granted, I’ll tell you that much.”
Claudia and her husband Ray consider it a miracle that she started to recover — and that recovery isn't over. COVID seriously damaged her lungs, but she's well enough to continue her treatment at home, she said.
"It's really a testimony to all those who may give up hope...that anything is possible," said Ray.
"Just breathing moving, even talking now, it's a chore. But I'm here. I flatlined four times. Who can still say they're here? So I'm grateful for that," said Claudia. "By the grace of God and the love of my husband and family and friends, I made it through.”
Claudia said she feels that she survived for a reason. As someone who did not get the vaccine, she is now encouraging others to get it. She wonders if her case would have been less severe had she been.
“ I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through what I went through," she said.