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Local nurse still recovering from Covid-19 battle after contracting the virus in June

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 6:49 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - In early July, 13 News brought you the story of Molly Dawson. Molly is a 25-year-old nurse, a WKU graduate, and works at a local hospital in Bowling Green. Several months after her battle with Covid-19 Molly is still recovering.

The week Molly went into the hospital she had initially tested negative for Covid-19 twice, even though she was having symptoms. On June 17th, Molly’s symptoms became severe to the point that she could not manage them on her own and decided to go to the emergency room.

“The morning of June 17, I woke up at about 2:30 and couldn’t breathe, I felt like I was drowning. So I attempted to do two breathing treatments and that didn’t help. So I went to the ER, and my oxygen was very low. From there, they tested me again and I was positive. It all moved pretty quickly, I got admitted to my own ICU, and then within 12 hours of being admitted, I had to make the decision to allow them to intubate me and put me on a ventilator. Then within another 24 hours of that, I had been life-flighted Nashville,” said Dawson.

Going on a ventilator was a hard decision for Molly to make. As a nurse, she knew what happens when one is intubated, but as her symptoms grew worse, she knew that this was the best choice for her to make.

“So I know what happens when you go on a ventilator and basically, we strip you naked, we give you a bath that helps for an infection, we insert a Foley, and we stick a tube down your throat. For other people, I can say, ‘you know, oh, as a nurse, I’ve seen so many people like this, like it does not faze me at all.’ But when you’re the patient in your own unit, and it’s your coworkers, who are going to do those things, and see you, that was kind of like the scary part for me,” added Dawson. “One of my closest friends, she kind of did the only thing possible and kind of let me just ride it out the day of that I was in the ICU, and let me come to the determination on my own that I needed to be intubated. That’s when she kind of started pushing it because she knew that if I had been pushed to get to that, it would have not probably gone down in the same way. But I was expecting to maybe be like, intubated for a day or two. I didn’t think it was that bad. Then when I woke up, I had, four days of hallucinations, so I don’t remember that part. But once the brain fog left, I had been told that it was 20 days later, and that was so strange to me.”

According to Molly being on the ventilator was not the hard part for her, the hardest part of it all has been the recovery process.

“It’s been a hard journey, for sure. I tell people that, being on the ventilator was not the hard part, for me, that was the hard part for everybody else. It’s the recovery, that’s been the hard part for me. When I woke up, I had been paralyzed for so long, I had to relearn how to walk. I had a lot of nerve damage from where I had been bound to paralysis, and I had been, in certain positions. So my right hand I couldn’t use it, so I had to discharge from the hospital where I was a patient in the ICU to a different hospital for inpatient rehab,” added Dawson.

“So those first couple of weeks were very hard for me because I’m an extremely independent person and I had to rely on people for everything. l couldn’t cut my own food, I had to have a fork with like this huge foam thing on it. I could barely walk, I had to have a walker, I couldn’t bathe by myself. Also, I was an incredibly modest person, so to have all of the things taken away from me, and all of a sudden need to rely on everybody else was very hard to wrap my mind around.

“But I feel like we see all the time in the news about what happens when you’re in the hospital, or when you have the virus at the beginning. But a lot of people don’t talk about their recovery. So especially in the beginning, I lost about 70% of my hair, because of the stress on my body. This past week, actually, almost five months later now from when I got intubated, I was able to shower by myself for the first time since June, which was huge. I still have to have my mom check and see if I was able to rinse out all the stuff because I can’t feel it. I’m looking at having to have surgery because I developed carpal tunnel on my right hand from it. I am just now getting to the point where I can write, I luckily can drive now, which is, very good for my mental health. But I still can’t live independently.

“There are a lot of things that I still cannot do. I’m definitely getting stronger every day and making huge strides with physical therapy and occupational therapy. So I am making progress for sure and I’m trying to stay focused on that. But I still have a lot that I can’t do and I won’t be back at work until at least probably mid-March. So I spend about 13 to 14 hours a week in various therapies to try and help that recovery.”

Molly has one message she wants to share with the public which is to not travel, stay home for the holidays, and wear a mask.

“My main message is that you need to wear a mask, you need to stay six feet apart, zoom your family on Christmas. I know it’s a sacrifice. But I want everybody to just take a second and think about the sacrifice that all health care workers, and all essential workers, like the grocery store people, or delivery people who are helping make everybody’s Christmas, they don’t have a choice whether or not they get to go to work, they have to make a sacrifice every day. So why not wear a mask even if you don’t think if it’s preventative, it’s not doing you any harm, to wear a mask, but it could save people’s lives. In the ICU they’re having to as nurses watch these patients die alone. When I was on the ventilator, I almost died several times and my mom wasn’t allowed to see me she wasn’t even allowed in the hospital. I’ve seen patients die completely alone and out of nowhere. So while it may not be anything to everybody else, preventing someone from having to die alone and pain and breathing and with anxiety, why would you not want to do that?”

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