Anderson Co. woman recovering from near-deadly bout with flu
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - She nearly died from the flu, but a central Kentucky mother still in the hospital weeks later is finally on the road to recovery.
Christa Mitchell, of Anderson County, said she is still in some pain but is doing much better now than how she was doing.
"From what I've been told," Mitchell said, "there is no medical reason that I am alive right now."
Mitchell spoke to Fox 56's Garrett Wymer by phone from a Louisville hospital where she has been for nearly six weeks - first with the flu, then pneumonia, then sepsis and septic shock.
Mitchell said she was already fighting the flu when she woke up Dec. 30 with her back hurting and having trouble breathing. Within hours she was hooked up to a ventilator, which she would be on for nine days.
It was a tough time for her family, especially her mother, husband and nine-year-old son, who have been by her side through it all.
"As a mother, when they came in and told us they weren't sure she was going to make it, it was just a life-changing event," said Susan Beasley, Mitchell's mother. "She's 30, but she's still my baby. To be there and to watch your child be so sick and not be able to help them - it's just hard to take."
Now Mitchell is out of the intensive care unit and undergoing physical therapy - leg exercises, strengthening exercises, practicing transfers from a wheelchair to a bed - and occupational therapy, such as taking baths and brushing her teeth.
She said doctors told her they will likely have to amputate her toes and the fingers on her left hand. But amid a season of flu that has killed more than 100 people across Kentucky so far, Mitchell said she feels blessed to be alive.
"I'm not going to take life for granted anymore," she said. "I will make the best of this situation as I can."
Mitchell said she knows that people across the country prayed for her, which she believes has played a big part in her recovery to this point.
Mitchell said she had not gotten a flu shot - she had not gotten one in years - so now she is urging folks who have not had one to get one. She also encourages folks who are sick to go to the doctor.
Thankfully, she is supposed to go home next Friday. Mitchell will be in a wheelchair - she can't walk independently until after the surgery. She also will have a home health care nurse.
Mitchell said that doctors are not in a hurry to do the surgeries on her feet or hands. She said they will wait as long as they can, because the longer they can wait, the more they can save, hopefully.
Friends have set up a benefit March 4 at Keepsakes Country Diner in Chaplin to help with Mitchell's medical expenses. Anyone who wants to help can also donate at Commonwealth Credit Union in Lawrenceburg.