A 66-year-old intensive care unit nurse who has battled COVID-19 for eight months — including an induced coma, ventilator, feeding tube and coming close to death on several occasions — after treating patients with the disease walked out of a Los Angeles-area hospital this week.
Merlin Pambuan left St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California, on Monday under her own power to cheers and applause from colleagues lining the lobby for her discharge, Reuters reported.
The situation was so dire for the 40-year veteran of the hospital that doctors discussed end-of-life options with her family.
''This is my second life,'' Pambuan said as she prepared to leave her hospital room with her 63-year-old husband, Daniel, and 33-year-old daughter Shantell.
Pambuan spent the last several weeks in the hospital's acute rehabilitation ward for therapy to regain her strength and mobility. She said she has no memory of the four months she spent on a ventilator from May to September, but does recall awakening from her induced coma unable to move her hands and feet.
''I said, 'No, I'm going to fight this COVID,''' she said. ''I start moving my hand (and) a physical therapist come and say, 'Oh, you're moving your hands,' and I said, 'Oh, I'm going to fight, I'm going to fight. I'm trying to wiggle my toes. I'm going to fight it.'''
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