Troy nurse battles coronavirus and pneumonia in the ICU

Troy nurse battles coronavirus and pneumonia in the ICU

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A nurse in Troy who has spent months protecting some of the most vulnerable people from contracting COVID-19 has now spent over a month in the ICU fighting COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Marie Post, 49, and her husband, David Post, are both nurses at Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center.

According to their daughter Sydni Dickey, the couple tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 30th, just days after receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

After David developed severe symptoms, he was sent to Troy Regional Medical Center. He eventually returned home and was put on an oxygen tank for a month. Dickey said he is still fighting complications from the virus.

“Even though he’s over it, he is still having issues,” Dickey said. “He can’t even take the garbage out without his heart starting to race and getting really short of breath.”

Marie was fine for about a week after testing positive, but then her symptoms took a turn for the worse.

After developing pneumonia on top of COVID-19, Marie struggled to breathe and was admitted to Troy Regional for a couple of days. She was later sent home with an oxygen tank.

Dickey said two days later, Marie’s condition became worse, so she was rushed by ambulance back to Troy Regional and put on a ventilator in the ICU.

“They immediately sedated her, and later on that night, her airways inflamed, and she couldn’t breathe, and they had to do an emergency trach (tracheotomy) on her,” Dickey said. “I think it was about 1 p.m. the next day she was life-flighted to Birmingham.”

Marie was life-flighted to UAB in Birmingham on Jan. 17th. Dickey said she was immediately put on life support, and since then, has been relying on those machines to keep her alive.

49-year-old Marie Post was life flighted to UAB in Birmingham from Troy after suffering from complications related to COVID-19 and pneumonia.
49-year-old Marie Post was life flighted to UAB in Birmingham from Troy after suffering from complications related to COVID-19 and pneumonia. (Source: Sydni Dickey)

“We’re two months into this already, and her lungs are still in pretty bad shape,” Dickey said. “When they show you the X-rays, her lungs are completely white still.”

Dickey said the doctors told them Marie could expect to have months of recovery ahead.

“Once she does come home, she’s going to have to go through physical therapy. She’s gonna have to learn how to re-walk and do everything again,” Dickey said.

Friends and family describe Marie as a healthy, active, loving, and strong woman. They say she is the last person you would ever expect to experience major complications from the virus.

“Mama didn’t have no health conditions at all, and that is what has made all of this even harder,” Dickey said.

Dickey said her mother was “healthy as a horse” and always had a ton of energy.

“My mom was the type of person who couldn’t ever sit down,” Dickey said. “She always had to be doing something.”

“You just wouldn’t think it would happen to her. She was just too strong,” said Marie and David’s co-worker Armestine Graham. “It just lets you know this disease doesn’t care about anybody. It will attack you at any given point.”

Now that Marie is a three-hour drive away in Birmingham, and with restrictions on visitors inside hospitals, communication has been limited.

“Mama’s not a phone call away right now,” Dickey said. “The only way I get to hear her voice right now is when I go back through my old voicemails and listen to voicemails she’s left me.”

“You don’t ever want to be, especially not 24 years old, and thinking, ‘is my mom gonna make it today?” Dickey went on to say.

Marie’s family is continuing to pray for her lungs to heal and hope another family doesn’t have to live through this same nightmare.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter your age, it doesn’t matter your health, you don’t know how you’re gonna be affected until you get it, and you don’t know if you’re gonna be one of those people that just feel like it was a little sinus infection, and you don’t know if you’re gonna be like one of those people who was like my mom who had no health issues and now she’s fighting for her life,” Dickey said.

David is a retired Navy veteran who has been a nurse for 30 years. Marie was a dispatcher for 15 years and has now been a nurse for 15 years.

Dickey said they had dedicated their lives to serving their country/community, and she is hoping they can get some help back.

“They are both two really good people. They would give you their shirt right off their back,” Dickey said.

Dickey has started a GoFundMe to help raise money for Marie’s hospital bills if you would like to donate.

The CDC reminds people they are still at risk of contracting COVID-19 for a few days to a few weeks after getting vaccinated. While the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing and lessening the virus’s effects, you still need to continue to follow COVID-19 precautions to protect yourself and others.

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