Doctors and nurses gave an incredible send-off to a New York woman who spent 15 days in the hospital fighting COVID-19.
Staff at Staten Island University Hospital lined the halls, cheering and clapping, as Christina Paz was finally headed home.
"Honestly, it was something to really be thankful for and knowing that they cared that much to be there. To say that goodbye was wonderful," she said.
The powerful moment has been shared on social media by thousands but the hopeful, happy ending also serves as a cautionary tale for others.
The 47-year-old mother of five said she started feeling under the weather in mid-March, and after a few days, her symptoms wouldn't go away.
"I noticed the cough was getting worse, and I was having trouble breathing," she told ABC News. "My family started telling me, 'You know, you could have this.' And I'm like, 'No, there's no way. Why would I get this? How could I get this?' The most I did was go out shopping and take the precaution while shopping, washing the hands before, washing them after."
But Paz's condition worsened, and she knew she had to go to the emergency room.
She was hospitalized but didn't realize how bad her health was until she overheard her nurses telling her husband they were moving her to critical care
"I still refused to accept how serious it was until I heard the nurses on the phone with my husband ... and telling him that they're taking me there because they're afraid they may need to incubate and put me on the ventilator," she said.
Paz was terrified, saying she'd never gone more than a few hours without seeing her children. But the thought of her family also gave her strength.
"I'd sometimes dial just to hear their voices, and that, for me, was help. That was reminding me what I was fighting for, not to lay there and give up," she said. "I just kept saying, 'I have to keep better enough to go home. I have a lot to go home to.'"
After three days in the CCU, Paz's condition finally began to improve -- and eventually, she was well enough to go home for the first time in more than two weeks. All thanks, she said, to the people who took care of her.
"There are not words strong enough to thank them for the care that they give," she said. "The doctors, the nurses, they all go way above and beyond. And nobody can thank them enough."
Now she hopes to pay it forward.
"I appreciate the opportunity to hopefully give inspiration and hope to those who may be facing or have loved ones facing this situation I have overcome," she said. "My heart goes out to those who have not been as fortunate in having a positive outcome. I give my sincere condolences as I can only imagine the pain you were going through. But there is hope, and I am living proof of that."
Mother of 5 who beat coronavirus gets viral sendoff from NYC hospital staff
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