Langley City resident Cathy Gibbs, well known as the executive assistant for two MLAs (including Mary Polak - right) but now retired, was being careful to avoid possible contact with COVID-19. She still contracted the novel coronavirus and spent 12 days in hospital before returning home (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley City resident Cathy Gibbs, well known as the executive assistant for two MLAs (including Mary Polak - right) but now retired, was being careful to avoid possible contact with COVID-19. She still contracted the novel coronavirus and spent 12 days in hospital before returning home (Langley Advance Times files)

Twelve days later: Langley City woman returns home after battle with COVID-19

‘Colour me happy and grateful,’ Cathy Gibbs says

After 12 days in hospital battling COVID-19, Langley City resident Cathy Gibbs is home.

“Colour me happy and grateful,” Gibbs commented after being discharged from hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Now, she has to wait indoors.

Once Gibbs has gone 10 days symptom-free, she will be allowed to leave her home.

She credits her recuperation to maintaining a positive attitude and dedicating herself to aid in her own recovery.

“Moving around as much as I could, and breathing exercises, all made recovery move quickly:” Gibbs recounted.

One symptom that she wasn’t expecting, was joint pain.

“It just travels up and down,” Gibbs described.

She has been reunited with her cat, and is enjoying a return to familiar surroundings.

“I am happy because I am far more blessed than I deserve to be,” Gibbs said.

“I have caring friends and family who have made so many generous offers of support and help”

Gibbs is looking forward to ending her isolation, so her daughter, Tammy, can have an in-person visit.

Tammy came out from Edmonton and made sure her mom’s cupboards were stocked and the house was clean and tidy before Gibbs came home.

READ MORE: Inside the ICU: Langley City woman battles COVID-19

It was Tammy who first realized her mother was seriously ill.

Gibbs had recently been to dinner at the house of a neighbour who was part of her “bubble” — a limited number of people she didn’t have to be socially distant with during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Shortly after the dinner, the neighbour phoned Gibbs to advise she had been exposed to COVID.

Gibbs, who decided to self-isolate at home, developed a persistent cough, but she didn’t think it was too serious.

Tammy, could hear the difference in her mother’s voice when they spoke on the phone.

She phoned Alberta paramedics, who connected with their B.C. counterparts, and an ambulance team arrived at Gibb’s door to check her health.

That’s when Gibbs found out she had pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

After about a day and a half at Langley Memorial Hospital, Gibbs was transferred to Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH).

Paramedics applied defibrillator pads to her chest for the trip, in case she suffered a heart attack en route.

READ ALSO: Meet the ‘disease detective’ who tracks COVID-19 cases in Langley and other Fraser Health jurisdictions

At 72, Gibbs was enjoying an active retirement after several years as Langley MLA Mary Polak’s constituency assistant, as well as Polak’s predecessor, Lynn Stephens.

On the one-year anniversary of her retirement, on Monday, Aug. 31, Gibbs was at SMH, hooked up to oxygen and a blood pressure monitor, and several other medical devices – unable to get out of bed without assistance.

Gibbs’ advice to people who doubt the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic is that it is real, and even in a small bubble, it is possible to be exposed.

She posted a message online after she was admitted to hospital to say she hopes young people are getting the message.

“I know that this virus has affected your life, it’s affected everyone,” her Facebook posting read.

“You can be grateful that you won’t get as sick as I did, if you get it. I know you are young and you want to live you life, I get that. I am old, but that doesn’t mean that I want to die, do YOU get that?”



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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