(CNN) – Bettina Lerman was on a ventilator for weeks after contracting COVID-19 and failed to respond to doctors’ efforts to get her out of a coma when her family made the difficult decision to remove her from the resuscitation system.
They held a funeral and picked out his casket and gravestone as they prepared to say goodbye to him, his son Andrew Lerman told CNN.
The day they planned to remove her from the resuscitation system, Lerman said, he got a call from one of his doctors at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
“He said to me, ‘Well, I need you to come here right away.’ I was like, ‘OK, what’s wrong?’ “Said Lerman. “He said, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong. Your mother woke up.'”
Lerman said he dropped the phone when he heard the news.
More than 768,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 58.9% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.
Lerman said his mother, who will turn 70 in February, had a number of health issues, including diabetes, and suffered a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago.
She started showing symptoms of COVID-19 in early September, was diagnosed when she entered hospital on September 12, and went on a ventilator on September 21, he said.
She was not vaccinated but had planned to be vaccinated when she fell ill, he said.
Her condition deteriorated and doctors told the family that she did not expect her to recover.
“We had a family reunion with the hospital because my mom wouldn’t wake up. No matter what they (did) they couldn’t make her wake up,” Lerman said. “They said his lungs were completely destroyed. There is irreversible damage – it just won’t happen.”
It has been about three weeks since she woke up on October 29, and a hospital spokesperson told CNN she was in serious condition. The hospital was unable to release any additional information due to privacy laws.
Lerman said her mother had not suffered any organ failure and no one really understood how she was doing so well.
“My mother is very religious, so are a lot of her friends, the church and everything and they all prayed for her,” he said. “So they can’t explain it on the medical side. Maybe it’s on the religious side. I’m not that religious, but I’m starting to believe that there was something that helped her. I do not know.”
Lerman said he spoke to his mother for hours on Wednesday, and that she was able to move her hands and arms and could breathe on her own for a few hours at a time with some oxygen, instead of the ventilator. .
“She knows where she is, who she is – she’s as sharp as a point,” Lerman said. “Usually when someone comes out of a coma like that, they say the patients have a delirium where they’re very confused. From day one she hasn’t been through any of that.”
He said she was not out of the woods yet and could still have setbacks, but medical staff are considering putting her on a rehabilitation list to help her regain her range of motion.
She is already undergoing physical therapy to help her rebuild the muscle strength she lost during the ordeal.
Lerman and his mother live in Florida, but they both came to Maine extensively to care for his father, who has stage 4 cancer. Lerman’s father contracted COVID around the same time as the disease. Lerman’s mother but recovered.
Lerman and his wife also contracted COVID, and he said they will be getting the vaccine in a few weeks when they are eligible.
When they didn’t think she would get over it, Lerman said, the family abandoned her mother’s apartment in Florida, collected important family heirlooms and donated the rest of her belongings to other residents. of his building.
Her sister has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to help her mother as she recovers.
Lerman said his mother told him she prayed while she was in a coma and remembers the people who visited and spoke to her.
“So the words of encouragement I have are not to give up hope, and when you visit your family members in this situation, talk to them because they can hear you,” he said.
He also said that every case of COVID is different and that he knows not everyone will be able to recover like their mother.
“She is a miracle,” he said.
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