A long road home

By By Lenny Bernstein: For More Info, Go Here…

Hugo Sosa arrived here a hero, triumphant over the worst that covid-19 can inflict on the human body. Nearly 100 of his fellow first responders whooped and cheered as Sosa was wheeled out of a hospital last month. They chanted his name. He flashed them a thumbs-up from his gurney.

Twelve days later, frail and drawn in his room at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Sosa puzzled over a pile of coins his speech pathologist had set before him.

“Forty-five cents from a dollar, what do you get back?” Kristen Lucke asked.

“Fifty-five cents,” Sosa responded quickly.

“Good, show me 55 cents.”

That was more difficult. Sosa would have to hold the number in his head while he searched for the right coins. Today that was too much to ask. Perhaps tomorrow.

For the fortunate covid-19 patients like Sosa who survive intensive care and long stretches on ventilators, the journey home can be an arduous and lonely one that runs through places like Burke. Their survival is testament to the lifesaving value of some of the world’s most sophisticated medical interventions, but their deficits reveal the toll of the disease and of hospitalization itself. Their futures can depend on what happens here.

“A lot of the time, it’s a win to get discharged from the hospital,” Lucke said. “Everyone forgets there are so many things that go on before you actually make it home, if you can make it home.”

The sheer size of the coronavirus pandemic means that thousands of people may need this kind of therapy. Their numbers already are forcing change on a U.S. medical system that did not see covid-19 coming.

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