When Jeannie Koski came down with COVID-19 shortly after Christmas in 2021, she hoped her case would be mild. Unfortunately, by New Year’s Day, her oxygen levels plummeted. That day, the Utica, Nebraska native arrived by ambulance at Memorial Hospital in nearby Seward. However, Jeannie’s condition continued to deteriorate, and she transferred to Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings, Nebraska, for specialized medical care.
“It had gotten serious by then,” Jeannie recalled. “I got intubated there, but after that, I have zero memory of my time there. I was heavily sedated for most of it.”
Against all odds, Jeannie’s health began to improve. After spending weeks in several acute care hospitals, she was physically weak and required ventilator support with a tracheostomy. She returned to Memorial Hospital for medical rehabilitation in March. However, her road to recovery wasn’t complete yet.
“Doctors told my husband I would need to be on oxygen for at least a year,” Jeannie said. “Then, we looked at nursing homes. My primary doctor had heard about Madonna’s COVID clinic. He was a big advocate for getting me to the Madonna program.”
Unable to walk and with a voice weak from disuse after being on a ventilator, Jeannie came to Madonna’s specialized outpatient post-COVID clinic in May 2022.
“I was so nervous going in,” she said. “Then, every person I met at Madonna was so positive and so wonderful.”
On her first day, Jeannie met with Madonna’s physician-led care team which evaluated her to create a customized treatment plan. Jeannie slowly improved as she participated in weekly occupational, physical and speech therapy sessions. Her voice grew strong, and later she took her first steps. Then, with her Madonna care team cheering her on, she started climbing stairs.
“I thought they were crazy when they suggested stairs,” she said of her physical therapists. “I didn’t always believe that I could, and they did. Because of that, I did it!”
By August, Jeannie walked out of Madonna’s post-COVID clinic unassisted and returned home to her family and her small business.
“Madonna gave me the feeling that ‘hey, you can get better. You can do it,’” she said.