For Elaine Harless from Mio, her life turned upside down when she got COVID-19 a year ago.
“First, my husband got sick, and then apparently I got sick,” Harless said. “I don’t remember the 10 days from the time he got sick to when I was brought to the hospital.”
She was taken to one hospital, but there were no beds available.
That’s when she was admitted to Munson Cadillac Hospital on Oct. 21, 2021.
“I guess my oxygen levels were at like 50 and I was put in isolation and quarantine,” she said. “They talked to my husband on his cell phone and two of my children came over from the Bad Axe area. The doctors wanted to let them know that I probably wouldn’t survive within the week, and start getting my end of life preparations together.”
But Harless stayed in the hospital for 29 days.
“On the chart notes, it said three times that I almost died,” she said.
Harless said she doesn’t remember much from her first couple days in the hospital, but she has one that’s incredibly powerful for her.
“One of the doctors and the chaplain and some of the nurses came in, I heard my second day, and prayed for me and sang,” Harless said. “The room just got so bright with lights, there was such a peace that came through the room, and I thought maybe I was hallucinating. At that point, I knew everything was going to be ok no matter what happened.”
She said prayer helped her greatly through her time in the hospital.
“There were so many people praying,” Harless said. “I got to pray with different staff members through that time.”
So on Oct. 21, 2022, Harless came back to Munson Cadillac Hospital, on the same floor she stayed, to surprise and thank her caregivers in person.
“I just wanted to come back, it’s a year today that I was submitted, and I wanted to thank the doctors and the staff because they were just amazing,” she said. “I am surprising Dr. Salata, Dr. Casey, Alexis, and Justin. Everyone, the whole staff, I just wish I could remember all of their names … I just wanted to come back on the anniversary and just let them know that I’m here because of them.”
Harless’ doctors and nurses were surprised and touched by her kind gesture.
“What impressed me about her was her spirit, her love of people, her love of God, and the fact that she was always upbeat no matter how sick she was,” said Dr. Michael Salata. “She could barely breathe, and she was still ministering to the people taking care of her, encouraging them as they encouraged her.”
Dr. Salata was with Harless on her second day in the hospital and sang with her.
“As much as she could sing through really challenged lungs, and the apparatus that she was on, she was singing with us, and it was incredible,” he said.
He said it’s an honor for Harless to come back and thank them for the work they did, and continue to do.
“To have somebody like Elaine come back and say keep doing it, keep doing what you’re doing, fight the good fight,” said Dr. Salata. “It was just amazing.”