Calif. Nurse, 66, Discharged from Hospital After 8-Month COVID Battle: 'Don't Lose Hope'

After an eight-month battle with coronavirus, a longtime ICU nurse has been discharged from the hospital.

Merlin Pambuan, 66, became a patient in the hospital where she worked for four decades, St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California, when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the spring, according to Balitang America. Her colleagues-turned-caregivers told the outlet that her condition came near death several times during her bout with the respiratory illness.

On Monday, Pambuan was released from the hospital, and she was able to walk again and return home to her husband Daniel, 63, and daughter, Shantell, 33, Reuters reports.

"This is what we live for … seeing our patients going home alive and in good condition," Dr. Maged Tanios told the outlet, as Pambuan added, "This is my second life."

According to Reuters, Pambuan can't remember the period between May and September when she was on a breathing apparatus, and when she finally woke up, she was unable to walk.

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"I said, 'No, I'm going to fight this COVID.' I start moving my hand [and] a physical therapist come and say, 'Oh, you're moving your hands,' and I said, 'Oh, I'm going to fight; I'm going to fight. I'm trying to wiggle my toes. I'm going to fight it,' " she recalled.

Pambuan said her recovery will be "very difficult," though she acknowledged that she has to "accept it" and "slow down a little bit."

She also offered advice to other people battling COVID-19: "Don't lose hope. Just fight. Fight, because look at me — I'm going home and I'm walking."

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