( ENSPIRE Feature ) Natasha Dyce Overcomes Her Battle With Covid Despite All Odds And Continues to Inspire With Her Unbreakable Spirit
ENSPIRE Contributor: Wiam Sergati
It’s true that miracles can actually happen. Natasha Dyce, a lifelong committed social worker, survived COVID-19. She had daily hallucinations, failing organs, and was even told by her doctors that she wouldn’t make it. Still, she went through the worst this pandemic could offer and survived. Natasha Dyce was in the hospital for 50 days and was later transferred to an emergency room where she had to learn how to walk and all the necessities all over again.
After 10 months of not working, she finally got back to work in January 2021 working for PACT Renaissance Collaborative (PRC), an organization designed to help improve “neighborhoods with high-quality apartments, services, and sustainable design.” This experience has helped Natasha Dyce reflect on her life as she now wants to improve the quality of her life. Natasha was given a second chance at life and wants to help people improve the quality of the way they are living.
ENSPIRE talked to Natasha Dyce about her struggle with COVID as well as how she continues to deal with it to this day.
Do you know how you got infected by COVID-19? What was your initial reaction?
From a colleague, who thought they were coming down with the flu. Initially, I thought I had the flu or severe allergies.
How was your experience being a Covid patient?
It was the most challenging experience for me. After being admitted to the hospital, I ended up on the ventilator for 5 weeks, all my organs were failing and I had a blood transfusion.
My family was told that I wasn’t expected to survive. During my comatose phase, I had a series of horrible hallucinations; I was literally fighting to stay alive—I struggled to breathe. After having a tracheotomy my condition improved. I woke up in the ER unaware of my current condition.
The staff was all dressed in what appeared to be space suits to me. The nurses surrounded my bed, and some teared up. I remember hearing several times I wasn’t expected to make it.
Seeing my mom on video was emotional because I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know if I could talk, or walk again…my body was limp. I felt like I was three years old and wanted my mommy to save me. She was glowing; she hugged me with her eyes and her loving words gave me hope…I teared up.
The next month consisted of me learning to write, talk and walk. It was challenging but the staff at Columbia Presbyterian were AMAZING…they were my family during my stay there.
What was your recovery like when you had to learn how to read and walk again?
The first time the doctor gave me a pen to write, it was all scribble. I remember looking up at him in shock, he in return looked at me empathically as my tears flowed. I knew what I wanted to write, but it didn’t make any sense. The physical therapy team gave me a mini writing board with a marker that eventually became my friend. That was my way to communicate with staff and when I would FaceTime with family.
Did you feel as if you worked in your job better, worse, or the same after getting COVID-19?
I definitely feel my experience has strengthened my job performance in my role as the resident tenant supervisor for the PACT Renaissance Collaborative (PRC). It has humbled me and made me more empathic. Most of all it has taught me to be a better listener. For weeks I couldn’t speak, I had no choice but to listen. I can admit that wasn’t one of my strongest areas…it’s a lesson I never want to forget.
What are some life lessons you have learned from getting Covid-19?
Some of the valuable lessons learned are to be a better listener, be empathic and kind to others, live life to the fullest every day, don’t wait until tomorrow—that includes telling your loved ones they are loved because you may not get the chance again.
How did you feel when you recovered?
I was extremely thankful but overwhelmed with guilt. I often thought about all those that didn’t survive. Listening to daily news updates saddened me but I tuned in daily. The process humbled me, it’s difficult to express how you feel when you plead to your mom to take you out for a walk with your walker and having to stop every few steps to catch your breath. You look at life from a whole new lens.
Surviving COVID is part of my life. I will never be the same person I was pre-COVID. I will probably have certain limitations all my life (mobility issues, organs not functioning as well as before). But I am here, I survived…it’s my duty to live to the fullest for all those that didn’t. I am thankful and I take heed to all the lessons learned and that I continue to learn.
Natasha Dyce’s struggle with fighting COVID and facing the lasting effects are terrible and reminds us of the difficult times circling across the globe. However, despite the lasting effects she has to face, Natasha Dyce has not given up or slowed down. She provides a perfect example to the rest of us as we slowly move beyond the pandemic. Like Ms. Dyce, we must be thankful for what we have, and in turn, live our lives to the fullest in honor of those who cannot because of this pandemic.