Dwight's Story

Conquering COVID, through therapy and faith

Dwight Manwaring has seen a lot in 69 years. A recovering alcoholic who values his 33-year sobriety, Dwight is active in Alcoholics Anonymous. He enjoys his job as a WalMart greeter and serves as a church usher.

He would need all his faith and family support for one of the biggest health battles of his life. In early April, Dwight began feeling ill. Over five days, he became weak, feverish and short of breath. When he could barely stand, the last thing he remembers is his son getting him an ambulance.

Dwight tested positive for COVID-19, fell into respiratory distress and was placed on a ventilator. Soon after, his kidneys stopped functioning and he needed dialysis.

Dwight showed slight improvement over a week’s time. He liberated from the ventilator, but needed high-flow oxygen. He’d also developed a blood clot in his lung and required intravenous blood thinners.

In all, Dwight spent 21 days in the hospital. Though he doesn’t remember much, he recalls feeling relief when he tested negative for the virus twice.

On May 1, he was ready to take the next step in his recovery journey and moved to Select Specialty Hospital – Canton, a critical illness recovery hospital with experience caring for medically complex patients.

Dwight arrived on dialysis, still short of breath and extremely weak. His biggest goals were to get back to all the things he loved – his family, job, church and AA community.

A physician-led team of nurses, therapists, dietitians and pharmacists created a plan to help Dwight get there.

He worked with respiratory therapy on breathing and chest exercises to increase stamina and lung capacity. He weaned from his oxygen support and was once again breathing independently.

Physical and occupational therapists began a mobility program, encouraging Dwight to sit up in bed, roll and move to its edge. They worked on range of motion and resistance exercises to build up his arm and leg muscles.

Dwight then moved to a chair, which helped with core strength. Therapists fitted him with a walker and he stood for the first time in more than a month.

He passed a milestone when he went for short walk in the hallway. Initially, he needed help from therapists, but worked up to doing it on his own.

Speech therapists led him through mouth, tongue and jaw exercises to improve his swallowing ability, while dietitians crafted a meal plan that managed his diabetes. His kidneys continued to heal and he may be able to discontinue dialysis soon.

The team at Select Specialty Hospital – Canton “gave me my life back,” Dwight said. He credits his care team, doctors and God for delivering him from the virus.

After a month with us, Dwight was able to go home. He was eager to spend time with his family and beloved dog after so much time apart.