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Avera Medical Minute: Therapy programs for Scotland COVID survivor

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 10:10 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Being dismissed from the hospital was a milestone for Nancy Auch and her battle with COVID. Her recovery though was far from over and she made the conscious decision to put in every effort into her recovery.

“You can decide to lay here, and end up in a nursing home or you can get your butt out of bed. I’ve never worked so hard in my life on anything. It’s my job now,” said Auch.

Physical and speech therapy is close to home at Landmann-Jungman Memorial Hospital Avera in Scotland.

“I used to work here. And so I know I know everybody,” said Auch.

Physical therapists asked about her goals. It was all about the grandkids.

“I wanted to be able to carry Olivia, I want to get back to babysitting the kids,” said Auch.

Avera Occupational Therapist Tiffany Stuelpnagel designed a therapy program to prepare her body for lifting and carrying her granddaughter.

“I’m working picking up 20 pounds, putting it up high, like I’m putting the baby in her seat,” said Auch.

“We’re just trying to get her used to manage that level of resistance while she’s moving while she’s bending,” said Stuelpnagel.

Oxygen levels are frequently checked. Nancy has come a long way from being on oxygen. Avera Physical Therapist Erin Odens remembers when it was a chore for Nancy to walk the hallway to the therapy room.

“We were lucky if maybe we got eight exercises done in an hour-session time. Now we’re less able to do a lot more,” said Odens.

She’s recovering from ICU neuropathy and no longer needs a brace.

“Trying to get that foot to walk,” said Auch.

“She is very good at carrying through with everything at home,” said Odens.

Nancy’s Speech therapist helps with more than forming words. Post-COVID brain fog is a real thing according to Avera Speech-Language Pathologist Tiffany Oster.

“We’ve been seeing a post-COVID cognition piece and swallowing has been a big one, especially from intubation,” said Oster.

Nancy’s graduated from speech therapy.

“Some of her cognition she thought was better than it was even before COVID,” said Oster.

The grandchildren motivate her.

“Made me this bracelet that says: fierce. This one says we love you, Nana. And this one says Be you, Nana,” said Auch.

She wants to encourage others to recover from COVID.

“Work hard, you’re worth it. And don’t give up on yourself,” said Auch.

Auch was also started water therapy, about a half-hour away in Parkston.

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