RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - A Radford University student continues to recover after an unexpected battle with COVID-19 and pneumonia when she went to a hospital for something else. Emily Clemente wants to share her story and message, urging people to think twice before gathering.
“I’m 25 and I’ve been in the ICU the last three days hooked up to machines,” Clemente said in a TikTok she created at the hospital.
She went to Carilion New River Valley’s Medical Center two days before Halloween for a ruptured cyst and fever. Before she left, she took a COVID-19 test as standard procedure.
November 1, she found out she did test positive, then two days after that she couldn’t breathe.
“I have asthma, so the fact that I was having trouble breathing, my mom said, ‘you need to go to the hospital,’” Clemente said.
Her oxygen levels kept going down after she was admitted.
“I kept decompensating and they were afraid they would need to intubate, and they didn’t have the resources for critical COVID patient on the regular floor,” Clemente said.
The next step was going to the ICU because she couldn’t breathe anymore without machines and needed blood work around the clock.
“They said they didn’t expect to see me back,” Clemente said. “They thought I wasn’t going to make it.”
Her mom had to camp out in the parking lot because visitors are no longer allowed inside.
“I remember thinking I might not go home, this might be it and that scared me,” she said. “It was definitely scary knowing I might not leave the hospital.”
After three doses of convalescent plasma and five days of Remdesivir treatment, things took a turn for the better. Although Clemente doesn’t know for sure how she got the virus, she regrets going to a birthday gathering where she may have picked it up.
“Just because I didn’t share a drink with someone or have any physical contact, just being in that close proximity with that number of people, the damage is already done,” she said. “If I could go back and just stay in that weekend, I probably would just because it’s not worth it. No gathering, no anything is worth dying over.”
She hopes sharing her story makes you think twice before you gather. She also wants to express deep gratitude for the hospital staff that never left her side.
“I don’t even have words to express how grateful I am for these doctors and nurses and medical techs and CNAs,” she said. “I would not be talking to you right now if it weren’t for them.”
Clemente was released from the hospital November 16 and can leave isolation at home November 22.