WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) There were a flood of emotions as a woman was discharged from a hospital in Watsonville with a new lease on life on Friday after recovering from COVID-19.
35-year-old Esther Abundis thought she might never see a row of doctors, nurses, EMTs and first responders all cheering her victory and release from the Watsonville Community Hospital.
After a month-long battle with COVID-19, Abundis finally beat the virus. It was a long road to recovery for her; nurses said at one point, her bodily systems were on the verge of failing.
The Watsonville-area mother spent two weeks on a ventilator.
"I never thought it would it happen to me. It's emotional," said Abundis.
Tears ran down her face on Friday as she hugged a loved one for the first time since arriving at the hospital. Nurses at WCH say Abundis came to the hospital 35 days ago very ill. Doctors quickly put her in intensive care and soon discovered she had pre-existing health conditions.
"Her oxygen saturations started to slowly move down. She was starting to have difficulty breathing," said Nancy Teixeira, the director of WCH Acute Care Services. "Dr. Melissa Lopez, who is our intensivist, recognized that quite early on."
To help her breathe, Abundis was put on a ventilator. She also underwent kidney dialysis as well for two weeks. During those days, she feared the worst as the virus attacked her bodily systems.
"Not knowing exactly what's causing all this and the cure… or if I'm going to make it or not," she reflected.
"She was starting to go down the road of failure. And that significantly impacted her ability to survive this disease," said Teixeira.
But then miraculously, Abundis started to recover, and she eventually went through physical therapy to regain her strength to walk after being bed-ridden for so long.
Abundis credits the hospital, doctors and nurses for this moment. She says the first thing she will do when she gets home is hug her kids.
"Physical therapy, everybody… they always help me how to take the step forward. Everything was just great," she said.
"We only wish that her success could be everybody's success with COVID. And that's our number one goal here at Watsonville is to take care the best of our patients and get them safely back home," said Mary Straley, the chief nursing officer at WCH.
The WCH says they have seen a reduction in Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 in recent weeks, and many are testing negative. There are no upticks in positive cases at the hospital, and there is currently only one positive patient in the hospital being treated right now.
PREVIOUS STORY: A 35-year-old woman in Watsonville who tested positive for COVID-19 over a month ago has made a miraculous recovery after being put on a ventilator during her stay.
Nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital say Esther Abundis came to the hospital in March very ill. She was admitted to the hospital and put on a ventilator for at least two weeks because she had difficulty breathing.
Nurses say she got to a point where her bodily systems were in danger of failing, having to go through kidney dialysis as well. During her recovery, Abundis did physical therapy to regain her strength to walk.
KION's Josh Kristianto spoke with Abundis exclusively moments before she came out of the hospital and will have more on her incredible story tonight at 10 and 11 p.m.