God, 'earthly angels' and vaccine helps Wichita woman survive COVID-19

Susan Brown never questioned whether COVID-19 was real and both had carefully adhered to the recommendations of public health officials.

Eager to continue to keep COVID-19 at bay, neither she nor her husband wanted to wait until they each celebrated their 65th birthday in April.

So on the advice of a friend, on March 29 they drove to another county to receive their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

"We had been so careful," says Susan, who tested positive for COVID-19 week later. "I'm afraid we were already sick and were not aware."

Unfortunately, Susan, despite having no underlying health conditions, began having trouble breathing. On April 8, she went to the Emergency Room at Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa, which is just down the road from their west Wichita home.

Once there, she received a steroid infusion, was put on oxygen and then transported by ambulance to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, where she was admitted to the COVID-19 medical-surgical unit. Three days later, when her lab results showed an elevation in her liver enzymes, Susan was admitted to the ICU.

"It was scary, it was anxiety filled, it was struggling and still hard for every single breath," she wrote in a message to hospital leadership, adding that anyone whose COVID-19 infection was like having the flu was "very blessed."

Her blessings, she says, came in the form of the "earthly angels" who helped save her life and return to her family after a five-day stay in the ICU at St. Francis.

Those included the door screener at the St. Teresa ER who took her temperature, the doctors and nurses who provided her care at both hospitals, the staff who cleaned her room and delivered her meals and Chaplain Michelle Lyle, who visited her four times during her stay at St. Francis and, she says, was crucial to her recovery.

"You all prayed with me, doctors and nurses, and you held me, you talked to me through my anxiety attacks in the darkness in the middle of the night," Susan wrote. "You loved on me as if I were your family."

Without God working through her healthcare team, all the prayer warriors praying for her and her highly supportive family, she says, "I would not be here today."

That, along with the one dose of the vaccine, which also may have been a contributing factor.

"The fact that I had that one dose kept me from being as sick as I would have been and I was very sick," says Susan, who still has a cough but says she is "getting stronger every day."