New York paramedic opens up after coronavirus-coma experience: ‘I’m not the same person I was before this started’

Christell Cadet says she woke up from a coma 'a totally different person'

Christell Cadet

A New York paramedic who recovered from COVID-19 has a new lease on life.

Christell Cadet, an emergency responder for the Fire Department of New York City, fell ill with coronavirus and was placed in a medically induced coma in March. Cadet was taken to the hospital after her family discovered her several weeks ago at home on her hand and knees struggling to breathe, the New York Daily News reported.

The last thing she remembered was telling doctors she couldn’t breathe, following an appearance on CNN from her hospital bed.

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“I kept telling the staff I was having trouble breathing and too tired to breathe on my own, and I have to be put on ventilator,” Cadet stated. “They put me in a coma after that.”

Cadet was placed in a state of unconsciousness on March 21 as doctors worked for weeks to save her life.

Doctors put her on an ECMO machine, or life support, to supply her with oxygen. Meanwhile, making matters worse, her 65-year-old father suffered a stroke in early April as the stress of his daughter’s situation mounted. He is currently recovering from his condition.

Cadet was taken off the ventilator as her condition improved and she awoke in late April.

Cadet is now home recovering, but continues to use an oxygen tank and go through rehab to restore her ability to walk and speech.

“You don’t know how bad it can actually get,” Cadet explained. “I didn’t know it could be that bad. No one knows how bad this virus was — is.”

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With the worst behind her, Cadet now has a newfound sense of self.

“I woke up a totally different person,” Cadet said. “I’m not the same person I was before this started. Mentally, it makes me look at things different. It makes me appreciate life in a different way.”