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Walking With A Purpose | Sheryl Zucchi

December 20, 2022

Nobody could tell the difference from watching Sheryl Zucchi stroll down the long, first-floor hallway of Wilson Medical Center on a cold, December morning. Zucchi was smiling as she walked unassisted from her car, through the facility’s front entrance and then hundreds of feet down a corridor into the administrative office area.

It was a scene that would not have happened seven months prior, because at that juncture, Zucchi, who was born and raised in Wilson, barely had the energy or ability to get up out of bed.

“When I first started coming, I was very sick and wasn’t able to walk,” Sheryl said. “I was so weak in my legs. I didn’t know what I had going on.”

Through the care received at Wilson Medical Center, Sheryl found out she was dealing with multiple issues including long-haul COVID-19, diabetes complications and liver issues.

A scan showed that Sheryl’s chest and lungs were filled with fluid. All told, Sheryl said she had nearly 2,000 milliliters of fluid in her body, which was making it hard to breathe and perform daily tasks.

She gained weight and suffered mentally and emotionally from being sick during the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Past doctors I saw encouraged me to exercise, but to walk down the street and back, I had to stop and sit at the curb and wonder how I was going to get up,” Sheryl said.

A paracentesis was performed on Sheryl, and almost immediately she began to feel better. She could breathe, walk further than before, and mentally, the thought of walking down a long hallway – which at one point was the deciding factor in her cancelling an appointment – didn’t seem as challenging.

Sheryl, who has more than 40 years of nursing experience, including many years at Wilson Medical Center, said that she appreciated the care she received from the outpatient radiology and endoscopy departments. She used to always be the one providing care.

“When I took care of patients and they told me these things, I was empathetic, but that stuff never happened to me before,” Sheryl said. “Who would have known that I was in that bad of shape?”

Sheryl said she is feeling more like herself as she approaches her 68th birthday, which means she can get back to the things she loves, including serving as a meal delivery driver for elderly residents. She said none of it would have been possible without the care she received.

“They saved my life,” Sheryl said.

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