RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After nearly 10 weeks in the hospital battling COVID-19, a New Kent woman is looking forward to returning home to her family.
“I am supposed to go home on Friday if everything goes well,” explained Corinne Townsend. “I’ve had to learn how to swallow, to walk, to talk, it’s crazy. It’s not worth not wearing a mask over because everything can be taken from you in a second.”
The 30-year-old wife and mother of two started feeling sick in early June. She says she had been taking as many precautions as possible and has no underlying medical conditions.
Corrine and her husband run a family business, and she says her husband was diagnosed as asymptomatic, other employees were asymptotic or had mild symptoms. Corrine experienced the virus much worse than anyone else.
“I started just feeling weak, I have two little boys, so picking them up became hard. I started coughing really hard,” she explained. “I actually [spoke with] a webcam doctor and they said ‘you probably have COVID, keep an eye on it.’ I self quarantined. I never had a fever. One night I went to go to the restroom, I passed out on my way back, and my husband found me with my eyes in the back of my head.”
Corrine was taken to the hospital at 84% oxygen, she says doctors expected her to stay in the hospital for 12 days, but it just continued to get harder to breathe.
She posted about her struggles on Facebook, urging the community to take the virus seriously.
“They made the decision to put me on the vent,” she said. “I knew at that point my lungs were bad enough and my body was sick enough and I knew I had to rest, but the idea of resting like that was terrifying. I was so worried I wasn’t going to wake up or my lungs wouldn’t let me breathe on my own.”
She texted family and friends saying she was unsure if she would survive, and for three and a half weeks, Corrine was motionless on a ventilator.
“I had a collapsed lung, my heart stopped, I had chest tubes. Of course, I don’t remember but it was really traumatic for my friends and family,” Corrine said.
While she remained in the hospital, family and friends were able to receive updates through a Caring Bridge site.
Last week, Corrine was transferred from VCU Medical Center to Sheltering Arms Institute in Short Pump where she is set to wrap up a week of rehabilitation.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” she said.
She remains on a strict physical therapy and occupational therapy schedule at Sheltering Arms Institute, to help regain strength in her legs as well as strength in her lungs. Right now, Corrine can only stand for 2-3 minutes without feeling exhausted.
“It’s so important [to wear a mask] because you’re not just protecting people you know, they may take it to somebody else and somebody else,” she said. “When COVID first came out I never thought I would be this sick. It wasn’t that I was downplaying COVID, I just never thought it would happen to me.”
While visitors were not allowed during her hospital stay, Corrine is grateful to the hospital staff that did and have continued to step in as her family during her recovery. Through tears, she described what the doctors and nurses have meant.
“I cannot thank the doctors and nurses enough. My journey became their journey too. To see them crying and cheering for me - that chapter was good, I survived. I know I have further to go but I can’t thank them enough,” said Corinne.
When she gets out of the hospital, Corrine says she first wants to hug her children but also wants to continue to share her story to hopefully protect someone else from the virus.
“I want people to know how serious this is,” she explained. “[I know] you’re going to have to go through this - you have to help other people in the process. You have to get people to understand how serious this is because you don’t want to see anyone else go through this.”
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