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Racine woman released from long-term care after 8 month battle with illnesses caused by COVID-19

Posted at 8:23 PM, Dec 16, 2020

RACINE — A celebration was in store Wednesday when a Racine woman was released from long-term care after an eight-month battle with several illnesses stemming from the coronavirus.

Denise Sucharda’s family waited 253 days to finally reunite. They lined the long-term facility’s entrance for Denise’s long-awaited discharge.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Denise said.

Back in the beginning of April, Denise’s husband tested positive for coronavirus and had a mild case. A few days later, Denise said she started feeling symptoms herself. She went to the emergency room struggling to breathe and soon fell into a long coma.

“I don’t remember the three months that I was on the ventilator,” Denise said. "I was completely out at that point.”

The 54-year-old woman with no underlying illnesses other than asthma said she wound up with pneumonia, blood clots in her lungs, heart issues and kidney failure all stemming from coronavirus.

“A lot of nights I went to bed scared not knowing if I was going to wake up the next day,” Denise said.

Denise was weaned off a ventilator this past summer, but her hospital stay was far from over. She said the worst part was suffering alone. Denise and her family connected the only way they could, through video chats on their phones.

“I would have loved to have had them there holding my hand, telling me everything was going to be OK, but it just wasn’t an option,” Denise said.

“You had to wait for an update from the nurse,” said Denise’s son Dylan Sucharda. "If they didn’t answer, you’re pacing, you never knew what was going to be the next phone call.”

Denise said she was eventually transferred to long-term care in late August for rehab as she was unable to walk.

“I was there because I was bedridden for so long,” she said. “I couldn’t move my legs at all.”

Denise’s battle with the virus is done, but she said other health issues caused by it could take years to overcome. Most importantly for Denise, she’s back home and ready to cherish time with those she loves most.

“If you ask my kids they’ll tell you this is the only present they want for Christmas is their grandma home and she made it happen with the hard work that she did,” Dylan said.

Denise urges everyone who doesn’t take the virus seriously to understand that just because they may know people who have recovered from mild cases, there are others who are still suffering tremendously.

Denise’s family launched a fundraising page to seek help financial help due to Denise being unable to work and in need of continued treatment. If you would like to donate, click here.

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