By: Megan Roche
By Megan Roche
Alyssa Lobosco, a 23 year old RN from Pequannock, is on the road to recovery after beating COVID-19. Now a nurse in a Charlotte, North Carolina area hospital, Lobosco is sharing her story of her experiences with coronavirus.
“It started with a slight tickle in my throat and a rising temperature. That Sunday, I felt weak, tired, and nauseous. I was unable to keep food, water, or Tylenol down due to excessive vomiting. Almost every hour (for 48 hours) I was vomiting. I could not sleep. My temperature ranged from 101-104 over the course of 3 days, unrelieved by Tylenol,” Lobosco says.
After speaking to her employer, she was indeed tested for coronavirus.
“On Monday April 6th, I was tested for COVID-19 through employee health. On Tuesday, I was so dehydrated that my boyfriend drove me to a nearby Emergency Department. I was given IV anti-nausea medication and IV fluids for my dehydration. I was positive for COVID-19. I was discharged a few hours later. I felt better from the medication. But as night drew on, my nausea/vomiting came back stronger. April 8th at 5 AM, I texted my mom and she told me to go to a different hospital. I was transferred to the ICU. My respiratory status worsened, and I was intubated on Easter Sunday. My parents immediately hopped in the car and drove 650 plus miles to me once I told them I couldn’t breathe, and I was going to be intubated. I was placed into a medically induced coma and remained on life support for 2 weeks. At one point, I had so many mucous plugs obstructing my airways that I needed an emergency bronchoscopy to improve my oxygenation. I was fed via a nasogastric feeding tube, I had various IV access lines. I was kept on vasoconstrictive medications to keep my blood pressure up for organ perfusion. I was given medication to fight Cytokine Storm. I sustained a few pressure ulcers that are still healing. I was left with multiple blood clots in my lungs which I am currently taking blood thinning medication to hopefully dissolve. I lost 30 pounds and I am currently going to physical therapy twice a week to improve my strength, coordination, and balance. I was in the hospital from April 8-May 4.”
Although she has been discharged from the hospital, recovery still maintains its struggles. Even with the struggles, Lobosco maintains her positivity.
“Recovery has not been easy. I used a walker for the first week of recovery. I could not take more than 15-20 steps without my heart rate shooting up to 150-170s, which would prompt me to sit and rest for a few minutes in order to continue. I continue to work on breathing and strength exercises at physical therapy,” Lobosco says. “My family has been a big help; they have been caring for my dog and myself. My parents really have been the most supportive and caring of me; I am very grateful to have the support I do.”
Her message to those who think the virus is a hoax? It’s not.
“It frustrates me, especially when some people call it a “hoax” or compare it to the flu. I think there is a fine line between ignorance and lack of knowledge of the virus. Healthcare workers and first responders see it firsthand. Some people will truly never understand unless it has unfortunately happened to a loved one. I don’t like to think of it like this, but I almost died. A healthy 22-year-old (at the time) almost died. There are so many people dying from this and it hurts to see comments online about it being a hoax. It is real and like my case, it can worsen within hours.”
Lobosco is extremely grateful for all the support she has received from the community as she embarks on the long road to recovery.
“I learned that I had so many people supporting me. Not only family, but also friends, coworkers and doctors, and even strangers. The amount of messages I have been receiving from people all over is astounding. My mother (who is also a nurse) took a leave from work to aid in my recovery. My best friend had packages/letters for me that were sent to her house from people all over USA. My siblings had coordinated a huge “welcome home” parade in Pompton Plains with dozens of fire trucks, ambulances, and police officers escorting my parents and me into town. First responders showed support from Paterson (where my father is a firefighter captain) and my hometown, where I also volunteered previously. It was so amazing to see how much support, prayers, and love I received. Even though I was physically alone in the hospital, I was never truly alone. I had support from all over.”
I would graciously like to thank everyone who donated to my GoFundMe page, started by my father’s childhood friend Carlos Cabrera and his wife, Jen.
Through it all, Lobosco has learned how strong she is as a person.
“Everyday I learn how strong I am and how strong I can be; I see it in myself after each small victory like dressing myself or taking my dog for a walk in town. In the hospital, I couldn’t stand on my own after having my breathing tube removed. The following day, I stood up; the next, I took 3 steps. I felt very defeated. But it didn’t stop me. Two weeks after my discharge, I was much more independent. Now only a month after, I am able to ride my bike 3 plus miles and I can drive. It’s crazy to me that only a month has gone by and I feel amazing, not quite 100% but quickly getting there.”