South Bay grandmother Rosario Rodriguez spent seven weeks at Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center battling COVID-19, four of which she spent breathing with the help of a ventilator, and is finally telling her survival story after months of recovery.
“For me, I never imagined. I was working like crazy and suddenly I was dying,” Rodriguez, 57, said.
For 28 days the beloved grandmother of six was on a ventilator.
"It’s the worst experience to wake up with a ventilator, it hurts and that’s why they put you to sleep because I think I could die from that pain," she said.
Rodriguez contracted COVID-19 back in April 2020 during the very beginning of the pandemic. She calls the experience life-changing.
“For me, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, even though you see the other side. It was sad, hard, so dramatic and so painful," she recalls.
She didn't stop battling once, she left the hospital either. Rodriguez spent months recovering from her tracheotomy and stay in the ICU
"Every single day, as soon as I woke up in the morning, I would say to myself, 'I'm not going to make it today,' and at night, 'Oh, I did it.' Then prayed for the next day and the next day," she said.
She had to learn how to walk and speak again, and has since returned to work.
"At the beginning, I was kind of sad because of my scar, but now it’s a blessing and it’s a reminder of what I went through and that I have to keep on going," she said with a smile.
Rodriguez hopes others use the hard lessons learned during the pandemic to be better.
"We don't have to be running around and taking everything for granted. Life is so simple and so so so fragile," she said.
Now she's urging others to take precautions against the coronavirus as new variants continue to appear.
"It's important to still, whatever happens, take precautions. The world changed completely and I don’t think its going to go back to our times," said Rodriguez.