‘I’m Begging People To Listen’: Newton COVID-19 Survivor Shares Story

Ann Langenfeld of Newton has been home for less than a week, after spending six weeks in a near-death fight with COVID-19.

‘I’m Begging People To Listen’: Newton COVID-19 Survivor Shares Story

NEWTON (CBS) – Ann Langenfeld of Newton has been home for less than a week, after spending six weeks in a near-death fight with COVID-19.

“I’m grateful to be alive, and to have a second lease on life,” she told WBZ.

The 56-year-old wife and mother of two girls has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but is otherwise healthy. She believes she contracted the virus airborne while riding a train to and from New York City on March 4. She became sick the next day, and by March 15, she was in the Mass General Emergency Room. Soon after she was hooked up to a ventilator, in a medically induced coma for 16 days.

Ann Langenfeld of Newton (WBZ-TV)

“It was surreal to find out that’s what happened to me,” she explained. “I don’t remember much.” She does remember what went through her mind while in a coma. “Vivid, terrifying dreams,” she said. “It’s very scary. You think it’s real. And you can’t move.”

At one point, doctors thought she might not survive. “It was very traumatic for family and friends,” she said. Of course, Ann didn’t know that at the time. When doctors woke her up from the coma on March 31, she couldn’t move a finger physically, she said, and mentally, she experienced delusions. “You think you have Dementia or Alzheimer’s,” she said.

She told doctors in her delirious state that she had traveled to China and Korea, which she had not. “Things that were just not true I believed to be true,” she said.

Nine days after she woke from her coma, and in her second day at Spaulding Rehab in Cambridge, Ann says her mind cleared in an “aha moment” when she woke up. “I started making phrases and thinking, ‘Oh, I’m myself again,’” she said.

What was difficult for Ann mentally was the isolation of not allowing visitors to rehab, the stress of piecing together the anxiety her family went through while she was unconscious, and the constant COVID-19 tests and setbacks. She wasn’t tested once, or twice – but six times. Five times, she tested positive. “That was probably the first time…that I cried,” she said. “I didn’t think [the virus] was ever going to leave me and I didn’t think I was ever going to go home.”

The other realization for Ann was how much the world had changed since she first went to the hospital and went under, as an early COVID-19 patient prior to the surge in Massachusetts. “You almost start to believe, ‘Is it ever going to be back to normal?’” she said. “I left and [the world] was hustling and bustling and everything was fine.”

Ann returned home on Friday, April 17, after a warm goodbye from the nurses at Spaulding. She credits them, and the health care workers at Mass General, for saving her life. Her recovery is slow but steady. She can now walk on her own a short distance on the first floor of her home. Her small goal is to get to the shower to be able to shower on her own again.

Ann told WBZ she wanted to share her story so people start taking staying home seriously. “I just want people to know this can happen to their family,” she said. “It’s real, and it’s scary.”

She’s growing frustrated by seeing the protests to reopen the economy nationwide. “I’m begging people to listen” to the CDC and officials, she said. “Because I never – I don’t think I could go through this again.”

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Coronavirus Protection: Gardner Couple Makes, Distributes Masks For Free

A couple who have a personal interest in stopping coronavirus are making and giving away masks.

Coronavirus Protection: Gardner Couple Makes, Distributes Masks For Free

FITCHBURG (CBS) – Usually Eddie Vargas and his sons demonstrate their skills at the Fitchburg skate park, but this time he and his wife showcase their sewing.

“The top one is for you and the apple is for your wife,” said Eddie Vargas, as he handed a bag of masks to a gentleman.

They create face masks for anyone who needs one.

“They’re actually for my parents and my husband. My husband is immune compromised and both my parents are over 60,” said Gena Wright who was picking up masks Wednesday.

It’s an effort Dalis Garcia started on top of her regular job. Dalis works as a home nurse. Eddie also has a personal interest in curbing the spread of the virus – one of his relatives died from Covid-19.

Dalis Garcia and Eddie Vargas (WBZ-TV)

The couple doesn’t charge anything for their effort. Eddie said many people find that difficult to believe. Folks often give a donation of money or fabric.

“Regardless whether they can donate or not, it’s just a good feeling knowing that you can help out,” said Vargas.

All the donations go into more masks. Over four weeks, they have distributed 200.

Each mask takes about 25 minutes to make; Eddie with the prep work and, Dalis working the sewing machine.

“I measure and I cut the fabric and prepare the material,” said Vargas.

“I really enjoy making each one of them,” said Garcia.

They use social media to spread the offer of free masks.

“I think it’s great. It really helps a lot a lot of people and anything that helps keep the numbers down is great,” said Wright.

With each stitch, the couple hopes they inspire others to do something great as well.

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