BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–A Western New York woman who spent 87 days fighting COVID-19 is finally back home recovering.
The COVID survivor now wants to warn others just how dangerous the virus can be.
Rose Wiltberger says she didn’t think the virus would affect her or her family, but she found out differently.
She does have pre-existing health conditions, and she almost lost her life in the process of fighting the virus.
65-year-old Rose Wiltberger is able to stand her own feet again, and walk herself inside with the help of her family.
“It was like being blind and then having an operation and now you can see,” Wiltberger said.
Rose’s journey with COVID-19 started in May.
Her husband, Albert, works at Newfane Nursing Home.
During the height of the pandemic in Western New York, Rose and Albert both tested positive for COVID.
Their daughter, Amy Schultz said, “I thought I was going to have to bury both my parents. It was devastating.”
“I kept saying just let me die. Just let me die,” Wiltberger said. “They have called my death and were going to write the time I passed twice.”
Her daughter remembers an emotional phone call to say goodbye.
Doctors said Rose wouldn’t make it through the night.
“My dad and me and her sister we all talked to her and told her she needed to fight. And the next day she was alive and she was better. She heard us and God heard us. We were praying very hard,” Schultz said.
The next day, Rose started breathing on her own for three days.
She didn’t give up, and eventually tested negative for long enough to be moved to a rehab center.
She spent 33 days there working to gain strength back.
On August 1, with the help of a wheelchair, she was able to leave rehab, and go home for the first time since May.
Schultz says, “I loved seeing her and seeing her walk and she was ecstatic and happy to be alive.”
Now, Rose is in a new apartment in North Tonawanda, surrounded by her family who went months without seeing her in person.
She still uses oxygen, and a walker, and she’s still feeling many other affects.
But when she does get around, Rose says she always remembers one thing.
“There’s so many people I see without a mask thinking it’s jsut the flu. I’m living proof it’s not just the flu. Wear a mask. Don’t ask. That’s my saying. That’s what I want to leave saying,” Wiltberger said.
Rose took her first steps a few weeks ago.
She was able to take 75 steps before being released from rehab last week.
Doctors told her it could take 6 to 8 months before she feels back to normal.