(CNN)Mayra Ramirez says she was careful about following every health precaution she could before the day she was admitted to a Chicago hospital with coronavirus symptoms.
Mayra Ramirez in the hospitalThe fact that she was young and had otherwise been healthy, he says, made her a good candidate for the rare procedure.”I looked at myself and I couldn’t recognize my own body,” Ramirez said, after waking up in the hospital following her procedure. “I couldn’t talk, I could barely lift a finger, I couldn’t move. I was in a lot of pain, I was very confused.”Ramirez is now the first known American to have undergone the procedure after a battle with coronavirus, according to a news release from Northwestern Medicine. It’s been now nearly two months since the surgery and she’s recovering at home. She says she’s still weak and struggling to breathe.She’s one of more than 4.6 million Americans who have been infected with coronavirus. At least 154,860 people have died.”This is not a hoax,” she said. “This virus is real, it happened to me.”