COVID recovery: After weeks in ICU, patients face long road to recovery after leaving hospital

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- For many people whose bodies have been wracked by COVID-19, there's a long road ahead after they leave the hospital to regain their strength.

For many of those who have recuperated enough to leave the hospital, recovery is a relative term. The comeback is slow and, in many cases, requires therapy.

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"I'm walking, but am I walking like I was before yet? No," said Linda Gorman, recovering from COVID-19.

Gorman is in physical therapy three hours a day at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton.

She has made a lot of progress considering she spent 21 days in a medically induced coma after she and her husband were diagnosed with COVID-19 in March.

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"I couldn't stand, I couldn't walk, could get out of the bed by myself, and now I can walk," she said. "I'm walking with a walker."

Dr. Larissa Pavone, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Marianjoy, said many COVID patients are severely deconditioned after spending long periods of time in intensive care. Therapists help patients with speech, cognition and everyday physical activities.

"Washing their face, brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom, getting dressed," she said. "Some of those tasks that can be very difficult after going through something like this."

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Gorman pushed herself in therapy, and will go home Tuesday. It will be the first time she will see her husband and family in seven weeks.

But her therapy will continue.

"We're gonna just keep working at it. I want to be back out on that golf course by the end of summer," she said.
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