It had been more than nine months since Yolanda Salinas had been inside her own home, but on Monday she got to take the step that at times over the last year seemed like it might never happen.
Salinas, 64, and a former Turlock resident who now resides in Chowchilla, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in September 2020. Over the course of her illness, she was a patient in three different hospitals and care facilities. She was in a medically induced coma and was given a tracheotomy. She has suffered partial paralysis and developed a resistant form of pneumonia. But, after all that she has finally made enough strides and improvements that on Monday she was released from the hospital and got to come home.
“We were worried she would be overwhelmed, but she held it together and was able to spend hours with a few of her brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren,” said her son Omar Salinas, a Turlock resident. “It was a great day indeed.”
Yolanda Salinas’ experience with COVID-19 begins back at the end of summer of 2020 when her husband had his own brush with the illness and had to be hospitalized. She had been caring for her husband and then tested positive herself. As her husband made progress in recuperating from the virus, it was beginning to ravage her system.
“The day dad was being discharged was the day mom was being admitted,” said son Estevan Salinas. “They actually rolled by one another in the ICU.”
Like many families the Salinas were in for an emotional roller coaster as the doctors and nurses fought to keep Yolanda Salinas alive. Three times the family was told to prepare for the end and talk to their mom over the phone line as she lay intubated and in a medically induced coma. But each time the tide would turn in her favor and she would press on in her fight.
The first real sign of recovery came in January when the trach was removed and they were able to hear her voice once again.
“For me, everything really hit home when I heard her voice again,” said Omar Salinas.
The brothers said their mother’s recovery was like a bad dance, in that for every step forward there was a half-step back. It wasn’t long after the trach was removed that she developed a strain of pneumonia that doesn’t respond well to antibiotics and she once again had to have a trach placed to help with breathing and was returned to the ICU.
Her health has improved dramatically since that time, but she is having to deal with some serious complications and side effects from the virus. The biggest of these is that she has been left with partial paralysis and will have to undergo physical and occupational therapy, while also having new accommodations at her home.
“Although minor upgrades throughout the house (rails, ramps, etc.) may be necessary, the biggest concern is the master bathroom,” the family said. “Yoli’s bathroom needs the tub and shower stall removed and replaced with a more oversized shower stall accessible via wheelchair. There will need to be a complete teardown and rebuild of that bathroom.”
The family has started a GoFundMe account to help raise money to aid in Yolanda Salinas’ recovery. The account can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/yolanda-salinas-road-to-recovery-after-covid19?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_8h3q+yolanda-salinas-road-to-recovery-after-covid19.