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80-year-old East Texan beats COVID-19 after more than 100 days in the hospital

Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 3:50 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A family from Carthage experienced COVID-19 three times; once with a smooth recovery, once with a death, and once with a miraculous recovery.

“On April 16, one of the worst days of my life, my sister was diagnosed with COVID-19, my dad was diagnosed with COVID-19, and my mom was put on the ventilator,” said Shenna Rougely.

She recalled the months-long battle her family faced with COVID-19. Her mother spent more than 100 days in the hospital.

“She kept deteriorating and getting worse; she went into kidney failure,” said Noralea Page, the RN at UT Health East Texas who took care of Shenna’s mother, Vearline Rougely. “We kept telling her daughter, Shenna, she’s not going to make it and Shenna kept saying no I’m not giving up on my mom."

“The hospital and the doctors were phenomenal,” said Rougely. “There was this doctor, Dr. Devine but I called her divine intervention. She fought for my mom. She told me I looked at your mom and there was something about her, even at 80 years old she wanted to fight for her.”

Rougely lost her job. “I looked at it like it was my ability to be able to focus on my mom and get her back up and running,” said Rougely. “That was my biggest focus.”

Rougely’s father, Raymond, lost his battle with the virus on May 15. “It’s hard; I miss my dad,” said Rougely choking up. “I miss him so much. He was the kind of dad that you want."

The day after her father’s funeral, Rougely received a call about her mom. “They told us it didn’t look good for my mom,” said Rougely. “They gave her about two weeks.”

Rougely credits her mother’s want to fight and the care of the staff at the hospital. “I think she fought back for us because she knew she had too,” said Rougely. “Because we just lost our dad.”

The staff at the hospital credit Shenna and Vearline’s dedication to family.

“I swear to this day, that these patients can hear you, and if they can’t see or feel you, they can hear you,” said Page. “If your family is saying don’t give up mom, don’t give up, we’re praying, we’re right here for you; they’re not going to give up, they’re going to continue to fight."

Vearline fought back from double pneumonia in both lungs, severe kidney failure, and two intubations to beat COVID-19 after 101 days in the hospital.

“She pulled through and what a miracle that was because we sure didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Page.

Rougely said while her family mourns the loss of their father, they’re grateful for getting their mother back.

“I could have lost my mom, dad, and sister just like that, but thankfully God spared my sister and my mom,” said Rougely. “But, I think God was ready for my dad because his work was already done.”

Vearline is now recovering at home, off of the oxygen, walking with a walker, and getting back to playing guitar.

Rougely said she hopes no other family goes through what hers did.

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