Sibyl Vickers has survived a lot in her 99 years. She lived through the Great Depression, lost her eyesight 30 years ago and struggles with hearing loss. And now, she counts herself among COVID-19 survivors.
“I’m feeling much better now,” said Vickers, of Marshall, who is recovering at UT Health Pittsburg.
Vickers first started feeling poorly in mid April, tested positive and was admitted to the hospital days later.
“I was so down when I got that test showing it was positive,” she said. “I just was weak and nauseous, and sad because I couldn’t be with any of my family.”
Her grandson, Dr. Trey Vanderburg, who is chief of staff at UT Health Pittsburg, said his grandmother was so weak she could barely stand up when she was admitted. For him, there was no question of where she would receive treatment.
“I ask people one question — where would you take the most important person in your life for their healthcare? I brought her here,” he said. “I knew this was the place, I never doubted it. Everyone has been fantastic.”
However, Vanderburg said one the most difficult aspects of the experience was making sure he operated as her grandson and not her doctor.
“This has been a very humbling experience because I’ve had to draw my boundaries and stay inside the ‘patient’s family’ box and not come outside that and be the physician. It’s second nature to want to be the physician,” Vanderburg said. “That has been the most challenging part. I know things, and knowledge can be very scary.”
Still, he knew his grandmother was a fighter.
“She is the strongest person I know. She is the epitome of strength, she is always positive,” he said. “The fact that she came out on the other side of this is miraculous.”
Vickers said she’s still working on regaining her strength and has even started doing exercises.
“I’m not as strong as I would like to be,” she said. “I know I’ve got to walk around and get some strength before I will feel better.”
Vickers said the care she has received at UT Health Pittsburg has been phenomenal. One of her caregivers even took time to paint her nails — light pink, her favorite color.
“I’ve had excellent care and good food and everything is going well for me,” she said. “They are kind and patient and sweet.”
When Vickers was moved out of isolation, the staff lined the hallways cheering as she was wheeled to a different unit.
“I was so down when I got that test showing it was positive, and then when they all lined up out in the hall and sang to me and clapped it made me feel wonderful,” she said. “I am so appreciative to all of the people who have prayed for me and are helping me. God is good and he takes good care of me.”