Ramona Pacheco is the kind of grandmother we all know. Widowed from her husband of 53 years, Ramona has four daughters and as many grandchildren. Originally from Rincon, NM, she has lived in Las Cruces since 2011. The 86-year-old homemaker loves visiting with her family and neighbors and going to the store.
That was until one day when Ramona began having issues with her breathing. “I was at home and I couldn’t breathe right,” she recalled. “I started feeling very warm and weak. Just overall yucky.”
Over the past year, Ramona had spent the past year in-and-out of hospitals with infections. Gradually, she became weaker. Ramona returned home from a skilled nursing facility on a Friday. On Saturday, the breathing incident occurred and Ramona’s daughter took her to a local emergency room. Ramona was admitted to the hospital where things progressively got worse.
On Sunday, Ramona was transferred to Intermediate Care. On Monday, she was moved to ICU, intubated, and put on a ventilator. After 16 days, a tracheostomy and PEG tube were placed surgically. Ramona had developed severe pneumonia. Her physician, Dr. Shet, recommended a transfer to Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico.
Ramona transferred to ACHSNM where the ventilator weaning process began. Though Ramona doesn’t remember much of her stay, her daughters were by her side and involved all the way through. The teamwork between the doctors, staff, and Ramona’s daughters produced results.
While at ACHSNM, respiratory therapists helped Ramona with treatments to wean from the ventilator. Speech therapists worked with her on talking and eating. Occupational therapy taught Ramona how to perform the daily tasks she used to perform with ease. Physical therapy helped her regain some mobility.
Ramona spent a little over a month at ACHSNM. Liberated from the ventilator and feeding tube, she transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico. There, she participated in additional therapy as an inpatient. Ramona has since discharged home with her family, participating in outpatient therapy at RHSNM to further her recovery.
Ramona and her family wished to thank the staff who helped her regain her independence: Annette and the respiratory therapists, Taylor, Nathan and Bradyn, Bernie, Sandra, Desiree, and all the nursing staff. “Not once did the staff ever complain when Mom wanted to get up to the chair and then back to bed,” said her daughter, Teresa. “Everyone would come in happy to help and were compassionate.
But the moment that Ramona and her family will always remember is her discharge day. “When Mom was discharged, the staff lined up in the hallway and cheered and clapped for her,” Teresa said with a smile. “This brought tears to our eyes, it was so beautiful!”