The Mandarano family know firsthand the harsh reality of the impacts of COVID-19, with it spreading throughout the family and 11 members contracting the virus. Luckily the majority of those infected only experienced mild symptoms, but Betty and her father weren’t so fortunate.
Betty’s father, was undergoing cancer treatment and therefore had a weakened immune system. Sadly he passed away from COVID-19 in July.
Betty, who is an asthmatic, was also severely affected. After struggling to breathe, an ambulance was called. She was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne where she spent the next month in the Intensive Care Unit; much of the time in an induced coma.
Betty recalls the impacts of COVID-19.
“Breathing was almost impossible, I had a fever and I was so weak I couldn’t stand or walk. It also affected my right hand. I couldn’t close it properly and I have a bit of nerve damage.”
Betty credits the team at St Vincent’s for saving her life after she contracted COVID-19 in July 2020. She spent a month in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, much of the time on a ventilator in an induced coma. After six weeks in hospital, she walked out of ICU to a standing ovation from the staff. The ICU team said Betty’s fighting spirit and positivity has been an inspiration to them all.
The day she came home, Betty remembers tears running down her face because she thought she would never see her house again.
Over 12 months on, she is improving slowly but still feels very fatigued. Even household chores like vacuuming wear her out.
Betty recalls how much she used to be able to do prior to COVID. “I would spend my days cooking, cleaning, and babysitting, but I don’t feel well enough to do any of this anymore. I also used to clean a couple of places a week with a friend – but now I struggle to just clean my own place.”
But it’s not all bad news. Betty is noticing an improvement in her energy levels every day, and she has experienced one really positive outcome from COVID. “It’s bizarre but I no longer suffer from fluid retention. I used to have to wear pressure stockings to manage this condition but ever since I had COVID, my fluid retention has stopped.”
Betty often reflects on the excellent care she received at St Vincent’s saying it gives her the inspiration for her recovery. “Dr Barry Dixon and his team took such wonderful care of me. I want to make special mention of the nurses, they were all really wonderful.”
Betty’s son Anthony said the whole family are excited because they are starting to see their feisty, pre-COVID mum again. “She is definitely improving. Family is everything to her, she’s looking forward to being the main carer again and not the other way around.”
Because of the great care Betty received, the Mandarano family felt inspired to show their thanks by creating a fundraising page on St Vincent’s Foundation’s website to raise money for the hospital.
If you would like to donate go to: http://bit.ly/mandaranofamily
St Vincent’s truly is a miracle hospital because they saved my mum’s life. We will be forever grateful.” Anthony Mandarano.