One early December day, Sharon Vaske began experiencing cold-like symptoms. When her condition worsened, she went to the emergency room. There she tested positive for COVID-19 and began treatment.
At first, Sharon was stable, but a week later, her symptoms became severe. She ended up in the ICU where she was put on a ventilator. Because of the extended time Sharon spent on a ventilator, she had to have a tracheostomy and a feeding tube put in. During this time, she also experienced a stroke that caused weakness to her left side.
Sharon transferred to a long-term acute care hospital for the next phase of her recovery. She arrived unable to eat, speak, or respond to directives. When Sharon progressed enough to have her tracheostomy removed, she was transferred to Gateway Rehabilitation Hospital.
When she was first admitted to Gateway, Sharon needed assistance when walking and sitting up in bed. The odds seemed against her, but Sharon’s son reassured the staff that she is a fighter. She continued her recovery with aggressive physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Her goal was to get back to her family.
The Gateway staff supported Sharon throughout her recovery. Spending the holidays in the hospital isn’t easy for anyone. Her nurse made sure to wake her up to wish her a Merry Christmas. The care she received boosted her motivation to keep working towards her goals.
Shortly after her arrival at Gateway, Sharon had her feeding tube removed and started eating a regular diet. She began to see real results. After just 21 days in therapy, Sharon can now stand on her own and walk with a walker. When asked what advice she would share with someone reading her story, she said, “You have to be persistent and don’t give up!”
Sharon’s journey was not easy, but she kept after it and never lost her determination. She can’t wait to get home to her family and is looking forward to her continued recovery.