‘This virus will find you even if you think it won’t’: TN mother shares story of daughter’s battle with COVID-19

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A local mother shared the story of her daughter’s fight with COVID-19 at a Ballad Health press conference on Wednesday.

Vicky Livesay said her daughter Angel, a team member of Ballad Health, has never had any health concerns prior to contracting COVID-19. She is 29 years old and tested positive for the virus on July 14.

Vicky and her husband, Bill, said they expected Angel would spend her time quietly in quarantine and isolation then return to work.

On the sixth day of Angel’s isolation, Vicky said they noticed a change in the way she was acting and her appetite.

The Livesays decided it was a good idea to take Angel to the emergency room the next day, but Vicky woke up early in the morning and decided to take her then.

After struggling to get ready to leave, Vicky said that Angel had trouble on the journey. She told Vicky she couldn’t breathe when they were close to the hospital.

As they were checking in at the ER, Angel went unresponsive.

A doctor at the ER told Vicky that Angel “had COVID-19 three times and she most likely would not make it.”

Angel was moved to the COVID-19 ICU shortly thereafter.

Vicky said the doctors explained that Angel’s lungs were white because of COVID-19, and she had previously gone into cardiac arrest. The Livesays were told that blood clots were likely.

Vicky and Bill eventually had to return home to rest.

“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how hard it is when we had to leave our daughter, alone, and to think we might be leaving her to die, alone,” Vicky said.

Angel underwent several procedures, was placed on a ventilator and received 24-hour dialysis. In addition, she was given multiple medications and was given plasma.

The following day, Vicky and Bill were brought in to see Angel, which Vicky said they understood was their time to say goodbye.Ballad Health: ‘Our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic’ 

Doctors explained that Angel was making it hour-by-hour.

As time went on, Vicky said Angel began making small steps toward improving.

After four days, Vicky said Angel opened her eyes when nurses said her name. On day seven, she was able to wiggle her fingers and toes on command.

11 days after being admitted, Angel was able to FaceTime her parents and see them for the first time in over a week.

Two weeks into her time at the hospital, Angel was given some wonderful news. “It was that day, for the first time, we heard the words, ‘cautiously optimistic,’” Vicky said.

Angel was removed from the ventilator on day 16, and she was finally released from the hospital on day 38 for rehabilitation.

She was cheered out by hospital staff lining the walls on her way out with her mother.

“It will remain one of my favorite memories throughout my life,” Vicky said when reflecting on Angel’s exit from the hospital.

Angel spent 26 days in rehab to get back her strength, health and voice before returning home on September 23.

“She still has a ways to go, but she is alive and relatively healthy considering her journey,” Vicky said.

Vicky said Angel is still working to get back to full health but that she is a miracle.

The family asks that everyone pray for medical staff during this pandemic and that the public wear masks and follow guidelines.

“This virus will find you even if you think it won’t,” Vicky said. “And maybe it will be a sniffle or maybe it will be more. Just think of Angel Livesay; she’s proof of that. And please don’t take a chance on being the next person who needs a miracle to live, cause it’s really not worth it.”

You can hear Vicky tell her family’s whole story in the press conference below:

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