Nicole's Story

An early COVID-19 survivor recovers

Nicole Baptiste and her family had just returned from a fabulous time celebrating her mother’s birthday in New Orleans. Nicole wasn’t feeling well and went to lie down in the bedroom. 
Hours later, Nicole’s husband found her unconscious. He called 911. At the hospital, tests revealed she had COVID-19 as well as pneumonia in both lungs. Nicole’s diabetes also created complications.

She was placed on a ventilator, and while Nicole liberated quickly, she still needed high-flow oxygen. In all, Nicole spent a month in the hospital, which left her weak and unable to care for herself.

Nicole stabilized and her care team recommended Select Specialty Hospital – South Atlanta for its experience treating medically complex patients with serious respiratory needs. 
Nicole’s husband and young sons were eager to have her back, so a physician-led team, including nurses and therapists, created a plan to help her recover quickly.

Physical and occupational therapists put Nicole on a mobility program. Twice a day, they led her through weight-bearing exercises that strengthened her muscles and light weights to build endurance.

Soon, she stood and took several steps to her chair. Several days later, she ventured into the hallway with a rolling walker, supported by the rehab team.

Working with our respiratory therapists and pulmonary physicians, Nicole did deep breathing and chest exercises to expand lung capacity. She weaned off high-flow oxygen, stepping down to a lower flow and, finally, none at all.

As grueling as some days were in therapy, not being able to hug her family was the toughest part of the stay. The hospital arranged regular video chat sessions with them, and church friends, helping Nicole stay positive and focus on getting well.

After a month with us, Nicole met her goals and went home. She was grateful for all the time our staff spent with her, especially her rehab team. She urges everyone to take the coronavirus seriously and be careful.