Compassionate nurse’s action strengthens patient fighting coronavirus

McKinney – An afternoon outside to feel the warm sun on his face and see green grass and blooming flowers reminded Ceasar Ronavaz, a COVID-19 patient at Medical City McKinney, of the beauty of life. Ronavaz is being discharged after 103 days in the hospital, especially grateful for the compassionate care he received from his nurse.

About 60 days into his 103-day hospitalization, Celeste Giannelli, RN, Ronavaz’s ICU nurse, wrapped him in blankets and wheeled him outside to enjoy the sunshine and a gentle breeze.

“That day, I realized how beautiful life is. Being alive is perfect,” Ronavaz says. “Being outside reminded me how much I care about being alive.”

It was twelve days into his home quarantine, after a positive COVID test, he began to experience shortness of breath and severe flu-like symptoms. He was admitted to the hospital on July 3, and spent 81 days in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the ICU step-down unit before transferring to Medical City McKinney’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Institute. To help fight the coronavirus, he was sedated, placed on a ventilator and had a tracheostomy to help allow air to enter the lungs.

“The day I asked him if he wanted to go outside, he just lit up. Outside, he was appreciating being alive and enjoying all the beauty around him,” says Celeste Giannelli, RN. “In addition to the physical care, we often provide mental and emotional support for patients that contributes to healing.”

Inpatient Rehab colleagues that worked with Ronavaz for several weeks to help him regain his strength, cheered him on as he left the hospital October 13 to continue recovery and therapy at home. Weak after months in ICU on a ventilator, Ronavaz will go home with the assistance of a walker and continue to focus on his functional independence with therapy at home.