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Human connection and a song help Chula Vista mother struggling to survive COVID-19

Posted at 8:18 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 11:18:24-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – Socorro Lopez says her mother was at a local hospital struggling to survive when not one, but two moments turned things around.

“For three weeks she was in really bad shape where we didn't know if she was going to get better or make it," Socorro says.

Socorro’s mom, Ofelia Flores, had contracted the coronavirus at age 73 in the spring. She wasn't getting enough oxygen, so doctors at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center put her on a ventilator.

“We were pretty much told by the ICU doctor that at this point she was pretty severe, that if we'd like to come visit,” says Socorro, who had to steel herself to say goodbye. “I went to the ICU and it was pretty emotional. It was pretty hard to think that we weren't going to see her again."

But then, what seemed like a miracle.

Socorro says, “I was able to go in and hold her hand and then give her a kiss.”

Two days later the hospital called to say her mother was getting better, that she didn't need as much supplemental oxygen.

“I believe that hearing their family members or feeling the touch of someone that they know that they recognize makes them fight, fight, fight more for their life.”

Not long after, Ofelia was moved out of the ICU, and while that gave her family hope, Socorro says her mom still wasn't herself.

“She came out different. I think that the COVID messes with your mind and we wanted to see a little more of her.”

Even though the tubes had long since been removed, Socorro says her mom still wasn't speaking. That is, until hospital staff delivered another miracle -- on Mother's Day.

“This amazing group of nurses and staff at Sharp Chula Vista just made a big difference,” Socorro says, “my mom just sat up and happened to know the song and started singing with them and that was like a miracle to us.”

Socorro says she didn’t recognize the song being sung in Spanish, but that her mother clearly did. She says her mother also loves to play the guitar and sing and that the group's beautiful gesture struck a chord so deep it brought her mother back.

“I want to say thank you, that made a huge difference in my mom and just, I think, touched my mom's heart and her life.”

After 46 days, Ofelia was finally discharged from the hospital. Socorro says her mom has had to go through outpatient care including for a blood clot, but thanks to the care she received at Sharp Chula Vista, she's hoping her mom will be playing the guitar and singing again soon.