Ingrid G. Smiling

Montecito Success Story:

Ingrid G.

I worked at a nursing home as a nurse during the beginning of COVID. I was screened at the front desk and was told I had a 105 degree fever and was not allowed to work. I don’t recall anything after that moment but I apparently drove myself to the hospital. I was diagnosed with COVID and got worse very quickly. I was intubated and in a coma for 4 months. During that time, I required a tracheostomy to transition me to long term ventilator support.

On Mother’s Day, hospice disconnected me from life support but I started breathing on my own. I first woke up July 11, but continued to be in and out of consciousness. I remember feeling very scared because I could not move anything and was so weak I could not blink. When I fully woke, I was a quadriplegic. I had a catheter and feeding tube. I ended up getting a stage 4 sacral wound from all the time I spent in bed. I found out that I lost my house and everything I own. I was very depressed, angry and scared. On August 28, I was transferred to Montecito. The ambulance driver said to me “enjoy your new home”, which really scared me.

However, being a nurse in the east valley, I recognized a few employees at Montecito which helped me feel a little better. After meeting the therapy team here, I felt relieved. I primarily worked with Brad (PTA) and Stephanie (COTA). I looked forward to being with them everyday. They not only helped me physically get stronger, but they became some of my best friends and really helped improve my mental health. They motivated me to give 110% effort everyday and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it was not for them. I had to relearn how to do everything. Initially, only my leg strength came back so I started working on being able to stand and walk. I was discharged on October 7 to Encompass rehab where I kept getting stronger.

After an extended time there, I was finally able to discharge home with caregivers. I still need help at home but unfortunately my insurance won’t cover it. I now live alone in a trailer but I am driving, swimming, walking and started a boxing class to continue to improve my upper body strength. My right dominant arm is still paralyzed so I have had to learn how to do everything with my left. I have a lot of challenges ahead of me but I am thankful for the function I do have.