Heidi K. With her Therapy Team

Montecito Success Story:

Heide K.

On November 15, 2021, I was experiencing shortness of breath that was more frequent than usual and decided to see my primary care doctor.  My oxygen saturation was very low and told me to immediately go to the hospital.  I was diagnosed with COVID and admitted to Chandler Regional Medical Center November 17, 2021. I was in the recovery side of the hospital for over 1 month before I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which occurs when lung damage turns into scar tissue and becomes hard, making it even harder to breathe.  Around December 11, 2021, I was admitted to the ICU and placed in a medically induced coma.  My amazing daughter visited me everyday from December 11th to January 25th while I remained in the ICU.  I am so blessed that she was there to advocate for me while I remained unconscious, as my doctors had changed my DNR (do not resuscitate) status a total of 6 times back and forth from a full code due to my continued declining health.  My daughter was very brave and would have meetings by herself with the doctors pleading to keep my full code status.  They finally decided to keep me a full code which really helped my daughter sleep at night and be less worried.  Amazingly, I woke from my coma on December 25th which we believe was a Christmas miracle.  Around January 10th, I had a tracheotomy performed to transition me from being intubated to a more long term ventilator support.  I moved to a smaller hospital around January 25th and stayed there a month before finally making it to Montecito.

I was evaluated for therapy on February 24, 2022.  I was so weak and could not talk because of my trach that I would try writing, but yet was too weak to do so.  I was apparently still very disoriented and did not become coherent until about mid March.  I do not remember anything before March 17th when my medications were adjusted, allowing me to start feeling like myself again.  I would not be here if it wasn’t for my amazing daughter and her strength, determination and belief that I wouldn’t want to just give up.  Through a lot of prayers for myself, as well as from a lot of others, God saved me.  I am a walking testimony that God still performs miracles.

I am so grateful for my two therapists, Carrly (OT) and Sharon (PT) who were amazing individual therapists, but also made a great team.  Due to insurance reasons, there were a few days to weeks that I was no longer receiving therapy.  This caused a setback with my strength and which was exacerbated by my fibromyalgia.  I became very anxious I would be forever bed ridden due to my fibromyalgia pain and severe strength deficits.  However, once I started back on therapy, Carrly and Sharon worked their hardest to get my strength and function back.  On March 23, 2022, they helped transfer me to sit on a toilet for the first time, which is still a fun memory and milestone.  They progressed me in the gym standing for the first time and taking my first steps.  In total, they worked with me for 4.5 months to get me where I am today.  Carrly and Sharon put their hearts into their work and really invested their everything.  They not only helped me get better, but I watched them do amazing things for lots of other patients here.

I was reminded each time I prayed or read my Bible, that God will always fight our battles, He desires to bless all people, and to see our needs abundantly.  As my lungs continued to heal throughout my time here, I still had days where I was very anxious and short of breath.  Carrly and Sharon would help me relax and focus on my breathing.  God put on my heart the song called “Breathe” by Johnny Diaz, which really helped with my panic attacks and can hopefully help anybody dealing with anxiety.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to all the people who took care of me during my stay here at Montecito.  I was able to overcome everything I endured, from being bedridden and dependent on a ventilator to breathe, to now being able to walk and care for myself.  I can not thank Carrlyand Sharon enough for their guidance, encouragement, perseverance and always believing in me.  It is because of them that I was able to walk out of Montecito and return back home to continue living my life.  God Bless Montecito’s therapy team, nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists, hospitality, doctors, and staff.  Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

“Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37