(Trends Wide) — Bettina Lerman was on a ventilator for weeks after falling ill with COVID-19 and had not responded to doctors’ efforts to wake her from a coma when her family made the difficult decision to withdraw life support.
The family made funeral arrangements and chose his coffin and headstone as they prepared to say goodbye, their son Andrew Lerman told Trends Wide.
The day they planned to take him off life support, Lerman said, he received a call from one of his doctors at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
“He says ‘well, I need you to come here right away.’ I was like, ‘OK, what’s up?'” Lerman said. “He said, ‘Well, it’s okay. Your mother woke up.’
Lerman said he dropped the phone when he received 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 (CDC) say that 58.9% of the nation’s population is fully vaccinated.
Lerman said his mother, who will turn 70 in February, had several health problems, including diabetes, and had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery a couple of years ago.
She began showing symptoms of Covid-19 in early September, was diagnosed when she was admitted to the hospital on September 12, and was hooked up on the ventilator on September 21, she said. She was not vaccinated, but had been planning to get vaccinated when she got sick, she said.
His condition deteriorated and doctors told the family that they were not expected to recover.
“We had a family reunion with the hospital because my mother wasn’t waking 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 isn’t going to happen.”
It has been about three weeks since Bettina woke up on October 29 and a hospital spokeswoman told Trends Wide that she is in serious condition. The hospital was unable to release additional information due to privacy laws.
Lerman said her mother suffered no organ failure and no one really understands how she is seen so well.
“My mother is very religious and so are many of her friends, the church and everything else, and they have all been praying for her,” she said. “So they can’t explain it from a medical point of view. Maybe it’s from a religious point of view. I’m not that religious, but I’m starting to believe that there is something that helped her. I don’t know.”
Lerman said she talked to her mother for hours on Wednesday and that she can move her hands and arms and breathe on her own for a few hours straight on a little oxygen, instead of the ventilator.
“She knows where she is, who she is, she’s as sharp as a tack,” Lerman said. “Usually when someone comes out of a coma like that, they say that patients have delirium where they are very confused. Since day one, she has not experienced any of that.”
She said she’s not out of the woods just yet and could still have setbacks, but medical staff are looking to put her on a rehab roster to help her regain her range of motion.
She is already receiving physical therapy to help rebuild the muscle strength she lost during the ordeal.
Lerman and his mother live in Florida, but both had been going to Maine a lot to care for their father, who has stage 4 cancer. Lerman’s father fell ill with COVID-19 around the same time as his mother, but he was He recovered.
Lerman and his wife also contracted COVID-19, and said they will be vaccinated in a few weeks, when they are eligible.
When they thought she would not recover, Lerman said, the family turned over her mother’s Florida apartment, collected important family items and donated the rest of her things to other residents of their building.
Her sister organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help her mother as she recovers.
Lerman said her mother told her she was praying while in a coma and remembers people visiting her and talking.
“So the words of encouragement I have is that you don’t lose hope, and when you visit your family members in this situation, talk to them because they can listen to you,” he said.
He also said that every case of covid-19 is different and he knows that not everyone will be able to recover like his mother.
“She is a miracle,” he said.