Traci Plummer taking her first steps out of Midcoast hospital after a 53-day stay with COVID-19. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

Traci Plummer, 60, took her first steps out of Midcoast Hospital on Wednesday right as the clouds cleared.

After a 53-day battle with COVID-19 in the hospital, a celebratory group of family, friends and hospital staff applauded her exit as she gradually made her way, supported by hospital staff, into the passenger’s seat of a car.

Showered in flowers and balloons, she was then escorted by local police back to her home in Georgetown.

Plummer had been in the intensive care unit for 42 days, paralyzed for 21, and, at its worst, lost her pulse for 97 seconds.

“Yeah, I’m one lucky person. I’m a lucky lady,” she said.

Plummer said in an interview that after she lost her pulse, she was resuscitated through CPR. While in paralysis, she lost use of both legs, an arm and could not rollover. She had two types of pneumonia in her lungs.

“My body felt like a mooring block,” she said. “But here I am today, strong and at home sitting here, looking at family and flowers, and so glad that I’m still alive.”

Plummer, who suffers from asthma, was among 43,900 cases of COVID-19 reported by the Maine CDC statewide, and one of 873 reported in Sagadahoc County.

“I think everybody should wear their masks, keep their hands clean and really take COVID as a serious thing,” Plummer said. “Some people don’t think it is, but I tell you what — I know it is.”

Her daughter, Ashley Preble, isn’t so sure it was just luck.

“When she was in there, just watching her strength, it’s an unimaginable experience,” Preble said. “You read about it, but it doesn’t hit you until it hits close to home.”

During the hospital stay, Preble said the hardest part was not being able to see her mother due to the strict visitation rules. Preble said she kept a journal every day documenting her mother’s bloodwork and vent settings, as well as the names of the nurses that worked with her.

Preble said she was allowed one visit when her mother was struggling with physical therapy because the nurse said “sometimes seeing family makes you stronger.”

According to her daughter, Plummer serves as an inspiration to her family and friends as well as the hospital staff, who she formed closed relationships with that will likely “continue outside of the hospital.”

Before being diagnosed with COVID-19, Plummer worked part-time at a daycare and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. Now, she said she looks forward to continuing with physical therapy, living a stress free life, and taking it “one day at a time.”

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