ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A woman from Rockford with Down syndrome returns home after winning a long and horrific battle with COVID-19, and those who know her are in awe of her recovery.
“My story is good,” said Kaitlyn Samaniego.
On December 7, Rita Dray woke up to find her unresponsive daughter Kaitlyn in her living room. It’s a moment she says she’ll never forget.
“I asked the fire department if I could say goodbye to her because I honestly didn’t think I would ever see her again,” Dray said.
Samaniego was transported to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. For almost a month, his mother could not come to visit him.
“I couldn’t see her for 23 days,” Dray said. “The first three days were the most crucial with each passing hour, when I wasn’t getting a phone call I knew it was a good sign.”
Samaniego was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, but it was only the start of her battle, she underwent 5 surgeries and spent extended time on a ventilator.
“I was really scared to think that we were going to lose her,” said Samaniego’s sister Ashley Robyn. “I don’t think I’ll ever see her again as COVID is going to take her.”
But Samaniego struggled, after a little over a month at OSF she was transferred to Kindred Hospital in Sycamore to learn to stand, walk and speak again.
“She was not eating well, she is tired, she has been in bed for over two and a half months,” said Dr Mutazz Darweesh. “She was sad, she was unhappy, she wants to go home.”
Slowly, Samaniego began to recover.
“The photo I saw of her standing and the light beaming from her face is just a joy that you don’t see that from a lot of people,” Robyn said.
Then after 73 days of medical care, Samaniego was able to return home.
“This is my home and now I’m safe,” Samaniego said.
Samaniego’s family say they’ve been tested in ways they never imagined, but the recovery she’s made is truly a miracle.
“The ones in the hospital that you know just fell in love with her and they still couldn’t believe and couldn’t get over and they would all say she’s a miracle,” Dray said.
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