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Midland woman survives COVID-19 after she was given a 50/50 chance to live

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:01 PM CST
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) -

Back in October, a Midland woman infected with the coronavirus was told she was going to die if she didn’t get on a ventilator.

Months later, she walked out of the hospital after a recovery doctors called a miracle.

When Nora Canales first got COVID-19, she could barely feel it.

But days later, her breathing shallowed and she realized this was far worse than she thought.

“They took X-rays of my lungs,” she said. “They were covered in COVID.”

The virus, combined with pneumonia, was rapidly breaking down her lungs.

“The next morning, I couldn’t hardly breathe,” she said. “I couldn’t hardly talk. He went in there and told me ‘Nora, basically this is it. I’m going to be straight up. If you don’t go on a ventilator, you’re going to die.’”

Barely able to speak, Nora had only 15 minutes to call her family and loved ones before doctors put her under in a long-shot attempt to save her life.

She was told there was only a 50% chance that she’d wake up, but somehow, she did.

After 32 days, Nora fought her way back, but her recovery was just beginning.

“I couldn’t move my legs from my waist down,” she said. “I couldn’t move my legs, I couldn’t feel my toes, my feet, nothing. And that was really scary.”

For the next two months, Nora had to relearn how to do almost everything from sitting up to swallowing until she was strong enough to start taking baby steps with a walker.

After five months of hospitals and rehab centers, Nora was finally able to come home to her family this weekend.

“Today’s the first day I’ve been out and I’m with my family and my son,” she said. “When I saw them this morning, I couldn’t help but cry. It’s such a wonderful feeling.”

Although she’s doing much better than before, Nora still has a long road ahead.

She still needs the walker and will have to keep up with physical therapy for another seven months, but she won’t be doing it alone.

“I don’t really think this necessarily happened to her, but it happened for us,” Nora’s brother Zeke Flores said. “In other words, we’ve learned something for it. Not that we weren’t close before but we’re closer at a whole different level.”

Nora said she wants others to learn from her story too. She wants everyone to take the virus seriously and wear a mask to keep their families safe.

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