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Hard Work and Determination

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Hard Work and Determination

August 17, 2023

Karen exercises during her pulmonary rehabilitation program.

In August of 2021, Karen Skinner of Denver was enjoying a vacation in Wisconsin with her husband and their seven children and families. When Karen returned home, she tested positive for COVID-19. Her symptoms were severe, and she was hospitalized for 31 days.  

After hospitalization, Karen was released to a nursing facility for further recovery, where she stayed for an additional month. While recovering, Karen was on oxygen and struggled to walk. She was confined to a wheelchair and was determined not to live the rest of her life like that. 

When Karen was released from the nursing facility, she began physical therapy in her home. She also received great care from her husband and the visiting nurses who came 3 times per week. Karen was then referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Waverly Health Center (WHC) by her pulmonologist. 

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program for people with long-term lung conditions, such as long-term bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and pulmonary hypertension. The purpose of the program is to help people lead a full, satisfying life through education, control of medicines, exercise, breathing retraining, diet counseling and emotional support. 

Karen’s goal was to be off oxygen for her son’s wedding in July 2022 so that she could walk down the aisle without support. “I feel like WHC’s program was designed for me,” said Karen. “It was just the right place for me to be. I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time.” 

Not only is Karen feeling great, but she has also become more aware of what is happening with her body. “This program is really good. The staff have been of great support and are wonderful cheerleaders. I have come so far with the help of my faith in God, prayers and this program,” Karen adds. 

Karen is happy to report that not only did she reach her personal goal of walking down the aisle at her son’s wedding, but she also graduated from pulmonary rehabilitation. The program helped Karen restore her highest possible functional ability and she voluntarily attends therapy 2 times per week even after graduation. She continues to be dedicated to making sure she leads a full, satisfying life.