Avera Medical Minute: Scotland woman shares COVID-19 recovery journey

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 10:43 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

A trip to Florida to visit friends was never intended to be an event to spread COVID-19. Last October, Nancy Auch and her husband returned from their trip and heard the news.

“Some of our friends called and said they lost their taste and smell,” said Auch.

Within days she developed COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive, and rested at home.

“I just thought it would be like a flu or bronchitis kind of attack kind of thing, that would last maybe a couple of weeks and then I’d you know be over it,” said Auch.

As a retired nurse, she knew it was important to watch her oxygen levels. When they dropped, she was admitted to Landmann-Jungman Memorial Hospital Avera in Scotland. Her struggle continued.

“And then they flew me to McKennan. I couldn’t keep my SATs up,” said Auch.

Pandemic restrictions only allowed virtual visits.

“FaceTime which really meant a lot. I got a lot of texts from friends and people I didn’t even know praying for me,” said Auch.

The days continued with no improvement.

“And you have a lot of anxiety when you can’t breathe,” said Auch.

She agreed to be intubated. The medications brought on unspeakable anxiety.

“I had hallucinations,” said Auch. “They had my wrists tied down, so I couldn’t pull my tube out. I was fighting to get out of the torture that was going through. They’re calling it PTSD.”

Nancy accepted the offer to see a counselor for the trauma.

“I’d like to go back and tell the nurses and I really wasn’t a nasty patient,” said Auch.

After 17 days on a ventilator, a tracheotomy helped her transition to a new way of breathing. Auch, who had been placed in palliative care, started to recover.

Doctors were unsure of how her body would react to extended time on a ventilator.

“I was able to talk. They didn’t know if I’d have a voice anymore,” said Auch.

Her determination to recover can be credited to the desire to be with her family again.

“I mean the doctors and nurses, my family all call me their Christmas miracle. I got out of the hospital on the 23rd of December,” said Auch.

The family welcomed her back home, including her dog Bailey.

“So I was very, very lucky,” said Auch.

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