CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last June, Sandra Davila was checked into the hospital.
“I had the fever, the pain, the chills, and of course that’s in the height of the coronavirus, so I thought this may be it,” she said.
But it was not COVID-19 that was causing her symptoms, it was strep. Bacteria had entered into her bloodstream and caused sepsis, and she was put into a sleep state for one week.
“When I woke up, the doctor’s came to me and let me know that they had to pull resources in from my limbs to save my vital organs,” Davila said.
Davila lost all the fingers on her right hand, the tips of the fingers on her left hand, and both legs below the knee.
“It takes a while to absorb. You live with a whole body, and you get used to your body and what it does,” she said.
Davila had to re-learn how to live her life with her lost limbs. She wasn’t sure how she was going to brush her teeth, feed herself, or even walk. By October, she had prosthetic legs, and started the process of re-learning to walk, with a goal in mind.
“I wanted to be walking by Thanksgiving, so I could greet my family at the door when they came for Thanksgiving,” Davila said. “That was self-motivation, I had a goal that I had to meet.”
While it wasn’t easy, Davila learned to walk with her prosthetic legs in just three weeks. She said she did most of her walking along the Corpus Christi Bayfront so her family wouldn’t see her walking and would be surprised on Thanksgiving; and with her every step of the way was her best friend turned caretaker, Lisa Morgan.
“From the get-go, she told my parents, ‘I’m going to be the one to care for her when she leaves the hospital,’” Davila said.
Morgan’s presence was a huge help for Davila in her journey to walking once again.
“I would’ve done it [on my own], but it would’ve been extremely hard. It always helps to have a helping hand, definitely, to help you and motivate you through even the hardest days,” Davila said.
It’s been more than a year since Davila lost her limbs, and she said it has been a tough year, but her faith and her support has helped her.
“First and foremost, I’m not bitter. People tend to get bitter and sad, and blame God. I did go through my mourning, don’t get me wrong. I knew God was going to get me through this, so there was really no self-pity, I knew I was going to be okay, it was just going to take a matter of time,” she said.
To help others in similar situations, Davila started an Amputation Support Group with Post Acute Medical Rehabilitation Hospital and LTACH of Corpus Christi.
“We talk to each other, laugh, cry, just get our feeling out with one another, share our ideas,” she said.
Before losing her limbs, Davila was a nurse, so she said it’s in her nature to help others. She said because of COVID-19, navigating through her situation was even more difficult, and she and Morgan made many mistakes on her road to recovery, so she wants to help others with their situations.
“We didn’t have the resources, everything was shut down, so we had to figure out a lot of things on our own,” she said.
Despite what she lost, Davila maintains a positive attitude.
“People say, ‘how can you be happy?’ For one, I have God in my life, I have an amazing support group, I have amazing people, in the doctors who helped me, as well as my family. It’s as if they were there specifically for me. They have been such a great support system in the things that have happened to me. That’s what’s important.”
The Amputation Support Group meets the third Saturday of every month at Post Acute Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, located at 345 S. Water St. 2nd floor, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information about the support group, call 361-500-0600.