After fighting COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic nine months ago, Rosa Felipe was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital Tuesday.
As a result of complications from the treatment she received, Felipe had to relearn to walk and perform basic daily functions. This made it even more remarkable that the 41-year-old woman was able to walk through the doors of JMH’s Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center.
“Corona is real! The effects are real! But what’s more real is the love that I’ve received here. The dedication from my doctors and all the staff here,” said Felipe.
Due to her underlying health conditions, which include asthma and diabetes, Rosa became gravely ill. She was intubated and spent two months in the intensive care unit at the very place where she worked for 15 years.
After her health stabilized, Rosa, who is married and has two children, underwent physical and occupational therapy.
"She couldn't move any of the muscles in her legs. And as she just described, she also had a very bad skin ulceration," said Dr. Lauren Shapiro, her rehabilitation physician.
Rosa was overwhelmed with emotion as she spoke about her illness and recovery. She pointed out how supportive her colleagues and her loved ones have been through the entire process.
"It’s been a very hard…or a very bitter drink to swallow, especially at the time when we were told by the doctors to make preparations for her funeral…And I as the proxy said, ‘listen, there’s no possible way. She’s part of the Jackson family. You are going to try to do whatever is necessary to make her come back to the life she used to have before,'" said Leonardo Guzman, Rosa’s brother.
Her family pointed out that she has a ways to go before she’s fully recovered. A JMH employee says it is likely she will lose her fingertips as a result of a string of medical complications that unfolded during her treatment.
Still, Felipe says she is hopeful.
"I’m overcome with emotion because I didn’t think I was going to make it. I had a huge wound down to the bone in my back. I was always afraid of infection. The pain that I felt when they would move my legs. And if you would have told me back then that I would come out walking, with difficulty, but I’m standing. And I’m not going to give up. I’m going to get better," said Felipe.