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Panama City woman awakens from 6-week coma fighting COVID-19

Tony Mixon
The News Herald

PANAMA CITY — The COVID-19 virus stole six weeks of Pamela Meyers' life.

Meyers lost her husband a few years ago, so she understands the preciousness of life. And in the blink of an eye to her, recently six weeks of her life were gone while she was in a coma due to complications with COVID-19.

From her perspective, she felt like she only slept for a day.

Pamela Meyers looks over her family Bible and reflects on how the passages helped her through her challenges with COVID-19 on Friday at her home in Panama City. [PATTI BLAKE/THE NEWS HERALD]

"I dreamed about my daddy, his family and stuff, but I thought it was like a dream," Meyers said. "When I woke up — you know they have to tie you down — I thought I had been kidnapped."

Meyers said all she remembers was going to the emergency room and the paramedics saying she had a fever. After that, it was blank and she was in a coma for six weeks.

During the time Meyers was sick, it was in the beginning of the pandemic taking shape into what the entire country knows about today. Larry Perry, managing partner of Perry & Young law firm and a long-time family friend of Meyers, said she was one of the first 10 or 15 people to have contracted COVID-19 in Bay County.

Even back then, his thoughts on how deadly the virus was are the same now based on his readings. Based on what he has read and continues to read, Meyers had all the previous medical conditions that pointed to her not surviving.

"She had suppressed breathing, before she had this, she had an excessive body mass index, and other underlying health conditions," Perry said. "By all accounts she should not have survived, but through prayer, I don't know how people believe or don't believe, I think at one point we had 100,000 people praying for her health."

Perry added that some people have family members who have lost their battle with COVID-19 and don't have that support group. He said that they lose hope and that hope is what keeps people going through difficult times.

A note to Pamela Meyers stands on her living room shelf on Aug. 7, 2020 at her home in Panama City.   [PATTI BLAKE/THE NEWS HERALD]

Since Meyers has been back home, she has felt nothing but love from Panama City. She never doubted that her friends and family love her, but it has been overwhelming with the support everybody has shown her.

Her experience with the doctors, nurses, and housekeepers when she was in the hospital is what struck her the most.

"From Gulf Coast doctors and nurses, they took great care of me and then they transferred me to Tallahassee and they took wonderful care of me," Meyers said. "Then they transferred me to Encompass and they taught me how to walk again."

Throughout her travels and dealing with different nurses and doctors, Meyers said they made sure to take proper care of her. A very emotional Meyers described how nurses and housekeepers were helping her with day-to-day activities like taking baths, washing her hair and helping her use the bathroom.

It was a complete 180-degree experience from thinking she had been kidnapped and in her words, "thinking they were going to take her organs."

Pamela Meyers points to a passage in Psalm 111 that helped her through COVID-19 on Aug. 7, 2020 at her home in Panama City.   [PATTI BLAKE/THE NEWS HERALD]

"When I left out of each facility, my housekeepers cried just as hard as I did," Meyers said. "And I remember one of the housekeepers laid on me as I was leaving, she said 'Mommy, I love you,'"

Meyers talked about how she's overweight and how she couldn't do things for herself at the time she was dealing with COVID-19 and that everybody continued to encourage her. Her doctors referred to her as a miracle and to keep fighting.

Meyers had the support from her three sisters and they called her on FaceTime every day to check on her. According to Meyers, her sisters called her all day.

"My sisters FaceTimed me 24 hours a day when I woke up, so my phone would stay plugged up," Meyers said. "They would watch me eat, they would watch me do everything for 24 hours. They even went to sleep with the phone in the bed, they even took showers with their phones."

Meyers added that regular activities like eating and drinking water made her sisters cry because there was a possibility before she woke up she wouldn't be able to do that again. 

She had a scary experience with her sisters one night when she started coughing up mucus and blood. She placed the phone upside down, so her sisters wouldn't see her struggling to breathe and fight for her life.

Her sisters thought she laid the phone down because she got tired.

"I laid the phone down because I didn't want them to see me die," Meyers said. "When I woke up, they told me my mucus thing had clogged up and if it wasn't for the good Lord and the good staff, I wouldn't have made it."

Meyers was welcomed with a drive-by parade when she made it back home from her battle with COVID-19 in late June. According to Meyers, the parade hasn't stopped since.

"They still come every day and it feels so good," Meyers said. "It felt so good to be loved. They could've quit checking on me, but no they have not."

Perry was one of the people who was part of Meyers homecoming parade and he said Meyers is still the same loving person she was before her fight with COVID-19.

"She is the same person on steroids now, she is amped up," Perry said. "She is catching up for the weeks and the months she was unable to talk and sharing how much she cares about people."

Thursday was the first time Meyers was able to leave her home and do regular activities. She went to Winn-Dixie and was stopped by people who knew her.

According to Meyers, she was being called a hero, but she refuted the title.

"The real heroes are the ones that are waking up every day, the doctors, the nurses and everybody fighting COVID," Meyers said. "Those are our heroes."

Meyers doesn't work and is on a fixed income, but to her that says more about the people around her. She might not have money, but she has wealth around her when it comes to her relationships with friends and family.

She said you couldn't give her a million dollars for her friends and family.

Meyers hopes that her story of her battle with COVID-19 will get people to take the virus seriously. At first people told her it was just the flu, but after her battle, the mindset of those she was close to changed.

"They're making sure they wear their masks, wash their hands, and I have a lot of people who ask me a lot of questions, but I can't answer them because I'm not doctor," Meyers said. "I wish everybody would learn to take care of one another. I wish they would take this virus seriously, wear their masks, wash their hands and I think it'll calm down."

While she doesn't know if and when the virus would slow down, she wants everybody in the community to take it seriously.

Meyers is still recovering physically from the affects of COVID-19, but her spirit is still as strong as it was before her battle with the virus.