Rhea Tosta can call herself a survivor.
Tosta, 31, a single mother of two small children, checked herself into an area hospital’s emergency room Jan. 19 following a birthday party for one of her kids. She was quickly placed into critical care and treated for H1N1.
After nearly a month in the hospital, doctors now say the virus is gone, Tosta said.
“I truly appreciate all the people out there. I received lots of prayers that had a lot to do with the fact that I am here now. I’m thankful for the support, prayers and the hospital staff was wonderful. And my amazing stepmom Gina for standing by my side,” she said.
Tosta expects to be released from the hospital tomorrow. However, she is nowhere near perfect health. She still experiences dizziness and she will need to take things easy for quite some time.
During the past three weeks Tosta clung to life as she battled severe pneumonia, which was believed to be caused by H1N1. For nearly a week Tosta was unconscious and placed on a ventilator while her body struggled to fight off the worst phase of the pneumonia. When she regained consciousness she says her thoughts were on her two girls, ages 3 and 4.
Since Tosta was placed in isolation her girls were unable to visit her until just a few days ago in the lobby area. Due to the increase in H1N1 cases hospitals have restricted visitor access to certain areas.
She says she was able to hug and kiss her girls, and her 4-year-old sat on her lap and gave her a list of things they were going to do when mommy comes home. On Saturday Tosta was able to sit and eat lunch with her girls.
“I was extremely emotional,” she said.
Tosta says she got her girls a flu shot, but not one for herself. In retrospect she said she probably should have gotten one, and advises others to get a flu shot as well.
Tosta’s sister, Ashlynn Frazel, says the family is still taking donations for Tosta because she is not working and she is not yet receiving disability benefits. Others looking to apply for such benefits may first want to read the social security disability requirements to ensure that they would indeed qualify. Tosta says her medical insurance was dropped by her employer on Dec.31, and she was scheduled to register for state-sponsored medical insurance by Feb 2.
Tosta lives in Hilmar and works in Turlock.
To donate visit http://www.gofundme.com/6e8xds, call Frazel at 209-752-0508 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.