“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.”
Michelle Clemmons, 52, is from Glasgow, KY, and works in manufacturing. She loves spending time with her family and friends. Michelle has one son and one grandson that she adores. As an active member of her community, Michelle is an involved member at Mt. Pleasant Church of Christ. Her fulfilling life took a turn when she became sick while working.
Michelle began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and in February, Michelle’s family found her unresponsive in her home after trying to call multiple times. Her son, Josh, stated, “We almost lost her that day.” She tested positive for COVID-19 and a week later started her recovery at TJ Samson Hospital. Michelle stayed on a ventilator for over 30 days with a feeding tube because she was not getting enough oxygen.
After two months at the hospital, Michelle became stable enough to transfer to The Medical Center at Bowling Green. Her family wanted her in a larger hospital setting. There, Michelle’s physicians started to prepare her family. They explained that she might not make it and if she did, she would be brain dead for the rest of her adult life.
Bedridden for five months; Michelle fought for her life trying to recover from this terrible virus. She stated, “The last six months have been a rollercoaster of a journey with many highs and lows.” On three different occasions, her family thought they would lose her and even started planning a possible funeral. Her sister, Jennifer, hoped that her strong-willed personality would get her through. “Before COVID-19, and certainly now after, I believe my sister is one of the strongest people that I know,” Jennifer said.
“She’s very tough, very strong, and she is always very giving.”
Towards the end of her critical recovery, Michelle transferred to Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital for more intensive therapy. One step closer to being home with her family, Michelle went into her stay determined to recover. After lying in bed for so long, she couldn’t walk and was extremely weak. With the support of her family, friends, and care team, she worked hard and started to see progress.
Come August, Michelle became strong enough to return home. She explained, “I’m thankful to be out today and for all the nurses and everyone that’s treated me in therapy. I wouldn’t be able to walk or move without assistance if it wasn’t for your love and encouragement.” Many of her friends and family lined the hall and cheered as she exited through the front doors of the facility.
After catching up with her family and close friends, she got in the car and headed home surrounded by love and support. Michelle looks forward to returning to a more normal life. She loves outside flowers and can’t wait to spend time with her grandson and visit with her friends and family.
When asked what got her through her journey with COVID-19, Michelle said, “A lot of prayers, good family, good people, and my good nurses and doctors.” After her experience with COVID-19, she wants to let everyone know how much of a threat the virus really is. “This is serious! Wear your mask and get your shots if you can.”
Michelle will continue her recovery in outpatient rehabilitation at SKY. She looks forward to seeing the same therapist that was with her from the start. “Because of them, I get to go home. They became my family. A special thank you to Missy, Melissa, and Courtney. These girls encouraged me every day!”