Clara's Story

A made-for-TV survival story

Clara Blackmon never dreamed a trip to the emergency room for hand and foot pain would set her on a nearly three-month-long battle against COVID-19.

When the 71-year-old was assessed in the hospital’s triage area, Clara had low oxygen levels, a fever and shortness of breath. Her breathing worsened and she was placed on the ventilator. Testing revealed Clara was positive for the coronavirus.

She responded well to treatment and liberated from the ventilator, but still required high-flow supplemental oxygen. Clara was also weak from her month in the hospital. Doctors recommended Select Specialty Hospital-Pontiac for further rehabilitation and respiratory support.

When Clara arrived, simple physical activity such as sitting up caused her oxygen levels to plummet. Having survived the virus, she was eager to return to the independent life she had prior to becoming ill.

A physician-led team, including nurses and therapists, created a plan to help Clara recover.

Physical and occupational therapists began a mobility and conditioning plan. Each day, they helped Clara move in bed, grasp objects and get into a chair. Over time, she grew stronger.

Physicians, pulmonologists and respiratory therapists crafted a breathing and chest exercise regimen that helped Clara significantly reduce her need for supplemental oxygen.

Soon, she was ready to attempt larger goals. Clara was fitted for a walker and took her first steps. Eventually, she traveled 100 feet down the hall.

Clara was ready for the next phase of recovery. She departed for an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, where she continued to build strength. After several weeks, Clara returned home.  Her story of victory over the virus was featured on the local news. Click here for the story.

Clara hopes to visit with her son, who lives in Canada, sometime soon.