Survivor’s Story: RI woman still recovering from COVID-19 after being put on ventilator

Coronavirus

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After nearly three weeks in the hospital, Lynn Thibeault is finally home.

Thibeault, 60, said she began feeling sick on March 20. That Sunday, her husband, Jamie, took her to the hospital because she was having a hard time breathing.

Doctors tested Thibeault for pneumonia, flu and COVID-19 before sending her home. A few days later, she learned she had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Thibeault said she started recovering at home until her symptoms grew more severe. That Friday, her condition took a turn for the worst.

“I got up in the morning and went into the bathroom to take a shower,” Thibeault recalled. “I passed out and hit my head on the floor.”

Thibeault was taken by ambulance to Kent Hospital, where she would spend the next 21 days. 

“I ended up in the ICU. They had to intubate me,” she explained. “I was on the vent for three days. Then, they weaned me off the vent and put me on a feeding tube, I think for four days, and an IV. I couldn’t speak.”

The entire time she was in the hospital, Thibeault said her doctors and nurses kept her husband updated as she slowly made progress. She was taken off the ventilator, then had the feeding tube removed, and just days before Easter, there was hope she would make it home. 

But Thibeault said she began to have cardiac complications – specifically dealing with Atrial fibrillation. 

After another week in the hospital, Thibeault was finally discharged last Thursday.

“When I got out of the hospital and stood up, I just started crying because I made it out of the hospital,” she recalled.

For the next few weeks, Thibeault said she will be using a heart monitor to watch her AFib, but she said her doctors believe it will resolve with time.

Although she’s now home, Thibeault said she will remain socially distant from her husband, daughters and granddaughters until the end of April. Reflecting on the past month, Thibeault said she considers herself one of the lucky ones.

“I’m very blessed to be able to sit here and talk to you, because of all the hard work of nurses, doctors, CNAs in that hospital. They are a team trying to get everyone well,” Thibeault said.

Thibeault said she’s continuing her recovery with new perspective: a reminder to never take her health for granted.

“We like to plan for tomorrow. But we won’t be taking any day for granted,” she said. “Every day should be meaningful.”

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