PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — The staff at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center lined up and applauded, as Beverly Milano was being wheeled through the hospital’s main lobby on Thursday morning.
The 68-year-old Mayfield woman was finally going home, two and a half months after she became gravely ill with COVID-19.
“I can’t remember my symptoms. I don’t remember anything after Thanksgiving day. They tell me I was conscious but I don’t remember,” said Milano.
She spent three weeks on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at Hillcrest Hospital and her family could have no in-person contact with her while she was being treated for the virus. When she was finally able to breathe on her own, she was transferred to UH Parma for rehabilitation.
“When I woke up, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lift, I couldn’t do anything,” she said.
The physical therapists who worked with Milano say COVID-19 robbed her of all of her strength, and the most basic movements had to be re-learned.
“Standing up, even trying to take a couple of steps, she needed two and three people for each of those things at the beginning,” said Physical Therapist Amanda Spirakus.
“We had to do things very slowly, do a lot of adaptive techniques, but she was a very determined lady. On the first day, she said to me, ‘I need to go home,’ and we said, ‘we’re going to get you there,’” said Occupational Therapist Bernice Eldridge.
Milano’s husband, who also tested positive for COVID-19, says he is grateful for the incredible effort to save his wife of 46 years.
As tears rolled down his face, Carl Milano told the staff at UH Parma, “We witnessed a miracle and all of you were part of it, a true miracle.”
Beverly Milano says she hopes that others can learn from her illness, her brush with death, and her long road to recovery.
“Whatever precaution you can take, you should take it, because I have no reason why this should have practically killed me,” she said.
She and her family hope to make up for lost time. They now plan to celebrate Christmas, which Milano missed while she was ill.