Baton Rouge woman shares hope after miraculous coronavirus recovery
BATON ROUGE - Joanna Ratcliff thought she had come down with south Louisiana's seasonal allergy problems two weeks ago. Instead, her condition turned into one that was life-threatening, which ultimately ended with a COVID-19 diagnosis. But Ratcliff made a miraculous recovery and is sharing her story in hopes of helping others fight the virus.
Ratcliff said she was at work earlier this month when she had a tickle in her throat. The 36-year-old has no underlying conditions,so she went to see her doctor when things didn't get any better.
Ratcliff recalls her doctor giving her a breathing treatment and telling her to go home to isolate. She was also given orders to get tested at a local drive-thru testing site. The next day, Ratcliff remembers waking up and being so weak, she went to the emergency room.
"My body felt like it was crushed and being held together," Ratcliff recalled. "I couldn't eat or drink, and I was extremely nauseous. My mind played tricks on me. I couldn't take it anymore."
Ratcliff said she was admitted to Baton Rouge General where she was tested for COVID-19 and received exceptional care.
"I have never in my life felt this sick before," Ratcliff said. "I've had the flu before. This is not the same. I do have a high tolerance for pain, so I do take a lot more. It was definitely difficult because I couldn't shake this off."
Ultimately, Ratcliff said her test came back positive. She said, at times, doctors contemplated moving her to the ICU, but her condition began to improve.
"Don't give up," Ratcliff said. "A lot of it for me was mental. The physical part was unbearable, but the mental part and my faith in God pulled me through. I told a friend of mine this virus is an unseen enemy, but my faith is an unseen weapon. It literally fought for me. It got to a point where I thought I was going to die."
Ratcliff said when she was finally discharged over the weekend, her doctor told her she was her first COVID-19 patient to fully recover and be released from Baton Rouge General. Even though she is on the mend, doctors told her she must quarantine for seven more days.
Ratcliff urges the public to take this seriously and has words of encouragement for others who might be going through this.
"Number one, do what the doctors tell you to do," she said. "Take medicine. Be patient. But, do know it does get worse before it gets better, but it does get better. Mentally, you've got to fight it, and let the medicine and prayers do the rest."
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