After 35 days on a ventilator battling COVID-19, Karen Parker-Bryant is resting comfortably at home.
Parker-Bryant was admitted to Clovis Community Medical Center on April 2. She missed her 64th birthday on April 16th because she was in a battle for her life.
As her condition got worse, hope arrived in the form of a promising new drug that may have saved her life.
The drug — remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc. — marked a turning point for Parker-Bryant.
When she left the hospital on Tuesday, she had one thing on her mind.
“I’m going to find me a piece of chicken,” Parker-Bryant said before getting in a car to finally leave the campus.
Parker-Bryant says she woke up one morning and felt freezing cold.
“I was stiff as a board, I couldn’t move, and I could barely breathe,” says Parker-Bryant. “That’s when I realized that I was really really sick, but I had no idea that I was this sick.”
Parker-Bryant’s son, Christian David, told GV Wire that his mother’s condition worsened in the hospital about a week before Mother’s Day.
That’s when the family granted Dr. Eyad Almasri of UCSF Fresno permission to give Parker-Bryant remdesivir. Dramatically, she came off the ventilator on Mother’s Day.
Almasri’s work on local patients during an initial study of the drug at Community Regional Medical Center gave him confidence in its effectiveness against the coronavirus.
“Clovis Community Hospital, I can’t tell you how amazing they’ve been,” David said. “She had around-the-clock care — every doctor, every nurse — there were four different doctors that were watching her.”
Leaving the Hospital
When asked how she felt as she was leaving the hospital, Parker-Bryant said, “Better than I did when going in. It’s the little things that we take for granted. And not to be overlooked, be thankful for everything that you get; even if it’s just to inhale and exhale.”
“It was honestly a little surreal. It was surreal because I hadn’t seen my mother in a month-and-a-half in person,” David said.
She’s now in her Fresno home resting comfortably and preparing for physical therapy.
“This is truly a great day for Clovis Community Medical Center, and a great patient outcome as well,” said John Kass, the hospital’s chief operating officer.
Parker-Bryant’s car parade left the hospital with horns honking, signs displayed, and a renewed sense of the value of life.
Her son said that once he got her settled into the house, he made a run to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for some chicken.
“She wanted two thighs and that’s what she got,” David said.