While our country continues to face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, we are being inundated with daily statistics on new cases, hospitalizations, and tests administered. With all of this information, it can be overwhelming to comprehend that each number represents a unique human that is somebody’s parent, child, grandparent, or beloved friend. This story focuses on one of the faces behind the statistics, and fortunately, this example is one of many uplifting recovery stories that has occurred at Consulate Health Care of Lakeland, in Lakeland, Florida. 

To preserve her anonymity, we will refer to this patient as Mary. Mary has been a vibrant, beloved resident at the care center since March 2015. Unfortunately, in late April, the 86 year-old resident fell ill and was admitted to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19. After approximately two weeks in the hospital, Mary was ready to return to the COVID unit at Consulate of Lakeland, where she received care for seven more weeks. While she did not need a ventilator, her condition could best be described as touch-and-go. At one point, Mary’s condition was so dire, she was put in hospice. Then, Mary’s condition began to improve. As she was feeling better, and finally tested negative for COVID-19, Mary and her son decided that it was time to come off hospice and begin therapy. Mary is continuing to grow stronger every day.

According to Aileen Jones, the executive director at Consulate Health Care of Lakeland, the pandemic has been so challenging because, “there is no rule book.” However, she and Katie Gannon, the director of clinical services at the care center want to recognize some of the individuals and organizations that helped make the recoveries possible. First, they said that Consulate Health Care has done an outstanding job with supplies as well as policies and procedures addressing the coronavirus. Jones added, “Still, things happen and you have to figure out the right way to deal with them.” Jones and Gannon want to recognize Wendy Blank, the regional nurse who made herself available 24/7. “We wouldn’t have survived without her. She answers her phone on the drop of a dime,” they said. Jones and Gannon also expressed their thanks to Dr Mbakwem, the medical director and Dr. Chebly, from Infection Prevention at Lakeland Regional Hospital. These doctors were instrumental in determining the medication protocol that helped save lives.

The staff knows that they can’t let their guard down for even one moment. “We must be very vigilant every day. We are constantly re-educating staff and just can’t give up. It’s a marathon, and we are going to make it to the end.” said Jones.

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