LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives in the state of Indiana. However, some people survived the disease and are still recovering. Mary Johns is a COVID-19 survivor. She caught the virus in December of last year and spent 70 days in the hospital recovering.
"I couldn't move at all. I forgot how to walk,” said Mary Johns. “So they taught me how to slide off a board onto the wheelchair."
Since then, Mary has learned how to walk again through physical therapy. A recovery she said was difficult.
"As they kept working with me my physical therapist just kept pushing me he wasn't my favorite person at the time but I did it and I was really proud the first day I walked in here without the wheelchair," said Mary.
Mary's story is not unique. Her physical therapist says treating COVID-19 survivors has become normal.
"It doesn't just stop after the COVID-19 infection passes people have a lot of after-effects sometimes and we manage a lot of those situations here at the clinic," said Danny Robertson a Physical Therapist with Franciscan Health.
Robertson says people who are hospitalized for COVID-19, are patients physical therapists most commonly see.
"I would say the most common things are definitely cardiovascular based just with fatigue and getting people's energy levels back up and the ability to breathe through and activity,” said Robertson. “Also a lot of weakness people having difficulty getting out of chairs or getting out bed."
Mary is in her 70's and she says many doctors were not sure if she would be able to beat the virus.
"Every doctor I have seen keeps telling me I am a miracle walking and I do not think they thought I would make it,” said Mary. “It was hard on the family.”
During Mary's stay at the hospital, her family was not allowed to visit as COVID-19 restrictions were still in place. However, her husband checked in every day to make sure she was recovering.
"She needed just somebody to hold her hand and I wasn't able to do that,” said Mike Johns Mary’s husband. “It was extremely tough."
While the worst of this disease is behind the Johns family, they are recognizing how fortunate Mary is to be alive.
"My doctor I went to a few weeks ago said you know you could have been in a box by now,” said Mary. “Every doctor I have seen has said you are just one of the lucky ones."
Mary hopes by sharing her story more people will get vaccinated, that way fewer people have to go through the long hard recovery she has.