“I want to be an inspiration to people. Things can change at the drop of a hat. They told my family I wouldn’t make it. My family and friends all came together and prayed.”
The odds were stacked against Sundrilla Scott Varmall when she contracted Covid and went into a medically induced coma early in 2022.
Varmall beat those odds and more when she walked out of Heritage Manor of Baton Rouge over seven months later.
The 60-year-old said she doesn’t remember much from the time she contracted the virus until she woke up from the coma.
She said her family filled her in on the timeline of events. In mid-January, she had a high fever and high blood pressure. She found out she had contracted covid.
Two days later, her fever had reached 104 degrees and her speech was slurred. She was taken to Baton Rouge General. She suffered multiple strokes.
On Jan 20th, she was admitted into the intensive care unit and her oxygen levels had dropped. She had also developed a blood infection.
“That could’ve really taken me out,” Varmall said.
Doubt of whether Varmall would ever wake from her coma crept into everyone’s mind who was close to her.
Her family gave up her apartment and put her things in storage, because doctors told them it was likely Varmall wouldn’t make it.
“My kids live in Maryland. The doctor called them and said there was nothing else they could do for me,” Varmall recalled. “They had given up on me.”
However, Varmall had not given up and she miraculously woke up and her long road to recovery began.
“Once my kids came and I guess it was from hearing their voices, I started getting better and better,” she said.”
When Varmall arrived at Heritage Manor in April, she couldn’t walk or stand. That’s when she began her work with the facility’s physical, occupational, and speech therapy teams.
“When she came to us, she could barely walk,” said Kristy Martin, the nurse at Heritage Manor who admitted Varmall. “Her speech was really slurred, and she had to use a feeding tube.”
Varmall said they used a lift to get her out of the bed in the beginning. She said there were times where her resolve was tested.
“I was feeling very depressed like I wasn’t going to get through this, but in my mind, I knew I had to keep going,” she said. “My kids and my family, they were depending on me. It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life.”
As time passed and her conditioned improved, Varmall said things got better and better each day.
Martin said through Varmall’s determination and hard work, she was able to go home on Sept. 1st and the facility threw her a going away party.
“Everybody was completely and utterly amazed,” Martin said. “With extensive rehab and determination, she was able to go home.”
Martin said the facility sees a plethora of patients, but Varmall’s story is one that she’ll never forget.
“She brought light to our facility,” Martin stated. “That’s something we’ll miss. She’s one patient who we took to heart. We love all of our patients, but she will always have a special place in our heart.”
Varmall said the facility throwing a party for her meant a lot and she wanted to thank Martin and the five therapists who worked extensively with her through physical, occupational and speech therapy during her five months at Heritage Manor: Zach Fitzgerald, Betty Hampton, Jodi Safer, Dana Duplesis and Brenda Nardo.
“If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “I want to be an inspiration to people. Things can change at the drop of a hat. They told my family I wouldn’t make it. My family and friends all came together and prayed.”
“You’re not the person who makes the decision on when it’s time for you to go,” she added. “God makes that decision. I guess I have more things left to do on Earth.”