‘Simply a Miracle’ - After 100 days at Ascension Wisconsin hospitals, an Appleton woman is finally home

Published Thursday, April 29, 2021

After more than 100 days fighting for her life, 45-year-old Missy Gostas is finally home. She was discharged from Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus April 20 at 1 p.m, where she spent 24 days regaining her physical strength and motor skills in the inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Gostas was admitted to Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus in Appleton on Thursday, January 7, 2021, one day after she tested positive for COVID-19. “By that time, I hadn’t been feeling well for about a week. I kept having trouble breathing and knew my oxygen levels weren’t good,” said Gostas. After losing her father to COVID-19 in September, she knew she needed to get medical help immediately. Her daughter drove her to the emergency department at Ascension St. Elizabeth and from there, things got worse.

Her oxygen levels continued to plummet and she was eventually put into a medically induced coma on a ventilator in mid-January. Gostas wasn’t breathing on her own and was making very little progress toward recovery. “There is no way to adequately summarize how close to death she was,” said Nicholas Freeman, DO, pulmonologist and critical care specialist with Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin. “We weren’t certain she was going to survive.”
In February, Gostas’ family and loved ones began to say their goodbyes as her prognosis was not looking good. But somehow, remarkably, she continued to fight.

Although she has little memory of her time in the coma, she remembers having vivid dreams, “Everything felt like dreams to me, it’s hard to tell what was or wasn’t real. In one dream, I was with my dad and Jesus and I told them I wasn’t ready to go. I asked them ‘Please let me stay, I need to be there for my children and grandchildren,’ and that’s when I woke up.”

“It was an incredibly emotional day,” said Freeman, “I still can’t explain it, I’m just happy that it happened. From that day on, she made slow and steady progress forward.”

On March 26, she was discharged to Ascension Mercy’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit to work on speech and language therapy, occupational and physical therapy and more to increase her activity tolerance and help her regain her independence.

Reflecting on her time in the hospital, Gostas said, “The doctors and nurses were so amazing….I know they did everything they could do, and I’m so thankful for that.”

“I’ve had some unusual and very emotional cases in my life, but this one takes the cake,” said Dr. Freeman. “I don’t use the word ‘miracle’ often...but I can’t think of a better way to describe this.”

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