The cases rise daily, nearing 12,800 on Friday in Michigan. But many patients live to tell about recovering from severe lung disease cause by the coronavirus.
Chilah Harper of Farmington is one.
“I beat COVID-19 and I’m going home,” she tells April Morton of CBS Detroit. "I can walk."
The 44-year-old Farmington resident, a CPR trainer at the VA hospital in Detroit, spent 10 days at Beaumont Health network's flagship hospital in Royal Oak. She was discharged Tuesday.
In the TV interview below, she describes how the ordeal began March 22. The station posts:
“I felt like, I was, like someone was cutting off my air, my chest was very tight, I felt like I was just gasping for air,” she said. Harper says that’s when she knew it was time to take action.
"I decided to drive myself there and I felt myself tanking all the way there," she said. ...
After arriving at the ER, she was admitted immediately and staff started critical care. She said the days following this were a complete nightmare. ...
She said she started coming to terms [with the belief] that she was not leaving the hospital alive.
"I had rationalized everything in my head because, you know, I knew people were dying, and I didn't see any other avenue for me," said Harper.
The day Harper, a University of Michigan-Dearborn nursing science graduate, got home she described her ordeal and gratutude in a lengthy Facebook post. Excerpts:
I started feeling ill on March 16 with terrible body aches and a fever of 103. I went to Beaumont-Dearborn the very next morning, got screened and they determined I needed to be tested for COVID-19. I was placed in quarantine [at home] for seven days or until I got my results back.
I had the worst body pains you could imagine. Even the soles of my feet hurt. I waited for my results and didn't hear anything. By Saturday, March 21, I had lost almost 12 pounds -- no appetite. I couldn't tolerate food or drinks. And then I started coughing. Not much, but a little.
On Sunday, March 22, I woke up feeling like I was being strangled. I couldn’t breathe! I didn't want to call EMS because I didn't know where they would take me. So I drove myself to Beaumont-Royal Oak. While driving I felt myself getting worse.
When I arrived at Beaumont, ...they immediately took me in the back, where I was assessed and started receiving critical care. My oxygen level was at 82%, and even with oxygen I still couldn't breathe. I was admitted and my first three or four nights were absolutely horrific.
I cried all night long because I knew I was going to die. I had made my peace with God. I could no longer fight and my body was taking a beating. At this point, I had acute hypoexmic respiratory failure, COVID-19 Infection, severe sepsis, pneumonia and dehydration. I was critical!
My heart is so full from all of the love and support I have received. I'm a COVID-19 survivor, though I still have weeks of recovery.
The Beaumont-Royal Oak staff, especially 9-South, are the people that saved my life. My care was compassionate, organized, supportive and professional.