Local News

After long COVID-19 battle, coma, recovered patient heads back home

Posted May 25, 2020 5:27 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2020 3:30 a.m. EDT

For 55 days, Lisa Fernandez heard no birds sing. The entire month of April, with its pastel beauty, was plucked from her.

And she could not hold her husband's hand.

"I'd say the first three weeks were really quite scary," her husband Frank said.

He says it was late march when Lisa had trouble breathing, just as the coronavirus began paralyzing our society.

"The next thing you know, your loved one gets a hold of this, or it gets a hold of you. It's devastating," he added.

An X-ray showed that Lisa had pneumonia in both lungs, and on March 31, she was admitted to UNC Rex Hospital and put on a ventilator.

She spent three weeks in a coma, but now she's awake again and able to hear the birds, while Frank can feel the butterflies.

"I couldn't sleep when this all began," he said. "And I couldn't sleep last night from the excitement of waiting to see her again.

He couldn't see Lisa for Easter, for Mother's Day, for her 54th birthday or for their son Jason's 19th.

But Monday, she was released from the hospital with what they call a "Code Rocky" -- along with a corridor lined with cheering hospital staff.

Outside, she went straight into the arms of her husband and two sons.

For 55 days, this family took it day by long day, waiting to embrace this very moment.

"Every day they woke up, they didn't know if I was dead or alive," Lisa said.

She added that the virus hit like a rocket. "We did all the precautions, I just don't know how it happened," she said.

"Her sense of humor was intact," Frank said of when she woke up from the coma. "We thought. 'Ok, that's mom, she's back,' and we never looked back."

As overjoyed as she is to go home, she'll miss her heroes in scrubs.

"How do you ever do anything to say thank you or repay them for giving you and your family your life back?"

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.