coronavirus

Nurse Retires, Returns Weeks Later to Same Hospital as Coronavirus Patient

Teresa Pye spent two weeks in JPS Hospital and five days on a ventilator

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A nurse who retired from John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth found herself back in the same hospital weeks later – as a coronavirus patient.

Teresa Pye retired from JPS in February.

In late March, days after she visited her mother in Louisiana, she said she started to feel sick.

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"I thought it was my allergies,” she said Monday. “I actually thought it was a sinus infection."

The next day, she spiked a fever.

"It never even dawned on me it might be the coronavirus,” she said. "It happened really quick."

Her husband convinced her to see a doctor.

She spent two days at JPS, but her condition seemed stable and she went home.

That’s when things got worse.

Her oxygen level dropped.

She went back to the hospital, this time by ambulance.

She was admitted to a critical care unit at the same hospital where she had worked just weeks earlier.

"They said, 'Oh my goodness, she's one of us,’” she said of her former co-workers’ reaction. “But when you're in a hospital bed, you're not one of them anymore. You're the patient."

Pye has lupus, an autoimmune disease, so she was already at increased risk.

Her test for coronavirus came back positive, and she had more and more trouble breathing.

Nothing seemed to help.

"Of course you do have those fleeting moments where you think, 'Lord, I'm not going to make it out of this, are all my affairs in order?'" she said.

She said doctors got special permission from the federal government to give her an anti-viral medicine.

She was unconscious on a ventilator for five days before she could finally breathe on her own.

"They asked me, they said, 'Do you know what day it is?' I said, 'Yes, it's Thursday. I think I said April 2. They said, 'No it's actually Saturday,’” she said. "I missed quite a few days. Quite a few days."

Incredibly, just a few days after that, on April 6, Pye was able to go home.

"I know they took good care of me but it’s nothing like being home,” she said.

Pye said she believes she got the virus while she was visiting her mother in Louisiana and took her to a doctor's appointment.

She credited the work of her old co-workers and her faith in God for getting her through it.

"All right my friends from JPS, all the nurses that I worked with, here I am, your miracle friend, still walking and talking and breathing,” she said.

She said she feels about 90% now, but still is tired and occasionally coughs.

"It’s no joke,” she said. “It’s nothing to play around with.”

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