Sharon C.

Sharon C.

Sharon Cunningham, 67, has a passion for the outdoors.  Her eyes light up when she talks of her birdhouses and gardening.  She has handmade birdhouses that she can’t wait to use in the summer.  

Sharon has lived with COPD for 20 years, but she hasn’t allowed that to slow her down.  There is a quiet strength about her and she powers through everything with a smile.   This strength is what helped her get through the toughest seven weeks of her life.

Sharon was having trouble breathing due to COPD and felt lethargic.  She was admitted to a local hospital to help treat her symptoms, but her health quickly declined.  She battled pneumonia, low potassium levels and even required a blood transfusion. She was placed on a ventilator to help her breath and had aches and pains all over her body.  Sharon’s daughter, Chris, didn’t leave her mom’s side through this difficult time.

Upon arriving at Vibra Hospital of Northwestern Indiana, Sharon was on ventilator support and receiving nutrition through a feeding tube.  She was alert, but could not sit, stand or speak.  Through this difficult period, Chris was her mom’s advocate, her voice, and her support.  “When I came in the ambulance, I was scared," said Chris, "but the staff has been nothing but great."

Sharon wasn’t ready to give up and our care team was ready to help!  Our Pulmonologist, Respiratory Care, and Nursing Teams worked to get Sharon off of the ventilator and were successful only eight days after her admission.  They explained each step of the weaning process, encouraging her along the way. “Delores (Respiratory Therapist) took such great care of me," notes Sharon. 

Speech Therapy helped Sharon to speak and eat again.  Through hard work, determination, and the help of Physical Therapy, Sharon was able to start walking again; she was even able to climb the stairs upon discharge!  “She was really motivated to reach her goals and was always willing to go the extra mile to get better.  Her ultimate goal was to be home and she accomplished it," recalls Tricia Collazo, Occupational Therapist.

Sharon’s strong will, her daughter’s motivation, and our Care Team helped her get back to better. We wish Sharon the best in her future and hope that she has plenty of sunny days to enjoy her birdhouses!