A Determined Patient Makes a Remarkable Recovery

May 26, 2020

Staff at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center lined the hallways on May 12 for a celebratory sendoff for COVID-19 survivor Jimmy Blaser, who spent 35 days in the hospital fighting to overcome the novel coronavirus. Jimmy, 59, inspired everyone with his strength and resolve, exemplified by the hours he spent working with the physical therapy team preparing to go home.

“It started with a cold that got bad real fast,” says Jimmy, of his experience. His first symptoms appeared after two relatives were diagnosed with COVID-19, who have since recovered. At first he assumed it was just a cold, but he began to feel worse and worse. His wife, Sabrina, watched her husband try to tough it out and finally convinced him he needed to go to the hospital.

After arriving at St. Mary’s, Jimmy was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and placed on a ventilator. For the next three weeks, he was on the ventilator being closely monitored by the hospitalist team and pulmonologist. His condition was critical when he suddenly turned the corner and his health started improving. While in the ICU, Jimmy started working with physical therapy to help regain his strength before being moved to the hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute for personalized inpatient physical therapy care.

Getting stronger is hard work, but Jimmy has demonstrated strength all his life as a foreman for a manufacturing company and a part-time rancher. He doesn’t remember a lot of what happened in the ICU; however, he says there are no words to describe how thankful he is for the care he received at St. Mary’s.