A breath of hope: Marsha Harris benefits from Hillcrest South recovery clinic

Marsha Harris thought maybe her post-COVID symptoms would become a permanent way of life.

Instead, the 60-year-old is enjoying a sense of freedom. Harris is at home and, for the first time in months, breathing freely without the assistance of an oxygen tube.

“I didn’t expect my recovery to be that good,” said Harris, who recently graduated from pulmonary rehab at Hillcrest South, part of Hillcrest’s post-COVID treatment program. “I thought I was going to learn how to live with oxygen.”

Harris had rehabilitation sessions twice a week for the past 10 weeks. Harris needed the treatment after suffering from low oxygen levels since she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November. She spent 25 days in the hospital, including 13 in the ICU.

Even after her release, Harris still struggled to catch her breath. Her primary care provider referred Harris to the pulmonary rehab center at Hillcrest South.

“I couldn’t do anything without my oxygen,” Harris said. “I couldn’t even make my bed. And I had the depression and anxiety that goes around with COVID recovery.”

But Harris’ situation, and state of mind, began to turn around after she began rehab.

Under the care of Andrew Gottehrer, M.D., a pulmonologist for Utica Park Clinic, and respiratory therapists Cindy Lang and Lisa Carr, Harris saw the benefits from a comprehensive approach taken in her recovery. The program incorporates specific breathing techniques, the importance of rest and how dietary changes impact those still suffering pulmonary issues from COVID.

“The environment was conducive to my recovery,” Harris said. “It seemed like they understood the dynamics of the recovery. They were very supportive and encouraging. At the same time, the expectation was pushing you toward getting the best out of you.”

Finished with the program, Harris said she has a new outlook on life and very appreciative of the staff at Hillcrest South.

“I just feel really blessed to have the people that were instrumental in my care,” Harris said. “I know I wouldn’t have made it to this point in my recovery.”

Are you continuing to experience health issues more than eight weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19? Call 918-579-DOCS (3627) to schedule a recovery consultation.