ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A Rockford woman with down syndrome returns home after winning a long and gruesome battle with COVID-19, and those who know her are impressed with her recovery.
“My story is good,” Kaitlyn Samaniego said.
On December 7, Rita Dray woke up and found her daughter Kaitlyn unresponsive in her living room. It’s a moment she says she will never forget.
“I asked the fire department can I kiss her goodbye because I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see her again,” Dray said.
Samaniego was transported to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. For nearly a month her mother could not come to visit her.
“I couldn’t see her for 23 days,” Dray said. “The first three days were the most crucial every hour that passed, when I did not get a phone call I knew that was a good sign.”
Samaniego was in a medically induced coma for two weeks, but that was just the beginning of her battle, she had 5 surgeries and spent extended time on a ventilator.
“I was totally scared thinking we were going to lose her,” Samaniego’s sister Ashley Robyn said. “Thinking I’m never going to see her again like COVID is going to take her.”
But Samaniego fought, after just over a month at OSF she was transferred to Kindred Hospital in Sycamore to learn how to stand, walk, and talk again.
“She was not eating well she is tired she has been in bed for more than two and a half months,” Dr. Mutazz Darweesh said. “She was sad, she was unhappy, she wants to go home.”
Slowly, Samaniego started to recover.
“The picture I saw of her standing and the light beaming from her face that’s just joy you don’t see that from a lot of people,” Robyn said.
Then after 73 days of medical care, Samaniego was able to go home.
“This is my home and now I am safe,” Samaniego said.
Samaniego’s family says they were tested in ways they never imagined, but say the recovery she made is truly a miracle.
“Those at the hospital that you know they just fell in love with her and they still just could not believe and could not get over and they would all say she is a miracle,” Dray said.
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