A nurse in California — a state that is currently seeing a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations — who was sickened with the novel coronavirus back in the spring has finally been released from the hospital — eight months later.
Merlin Pambuan, an intensive care unit nurse who has worked at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., for the past 40 years, was released from the same medical center on Monday after an eight-month battle against the novel coronavirus.
“This is my second life,” Pambuan, 66, said, per Reuters.
Pambuan suffered severe illnesses shortly after the pandemic hit the state in the spring, requiring sedation, ventilation and a feeding tube at one point.
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The outlet reported she came close to death many times — doctors discussed end-of-life options with her family at one point — but Pambuan miraculously pulled through, eventually waking and being able to breathe on her own.
She has spent the past several months undergoing both respiratory and physical therapy to regain her strength and mobility; Pambuan was not initially able to walk after waking from deep sedation.
When she was discharged on Monday to the cheers and applause of her colleagues, Pambuan walked out of the hospital unassisted.
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The 66-year-old nurse said she will require supplementary oxygen for a while — something that is “going to be very difficult for me,” she said, per Reuters. “But I have to accept it, that I’m going to be on oxygen for a while and slow down a little bit.”
“Don’t lose hope,” Pambuan encouraged others. “Just fight. Fight, because look at me, you know. I’m going home and I’m walking.”