Local Acute Care Physical Therapist watches father recover from battle with COVID-19

Dwight Doughan, a man from Britt Iowa, needed to be life-flighted to UIHC in early October due to complications with COVID-19.

That’s where one of his daughters watched his struggles and eventual recovery.

Now, Doughan was in rehab where another one of his daughters was sharing the long-term effects the virus can have on the body.

Doughan spends 3 hours a day in rehab after losing nearly forty pounds during his month’s long battle with COVID 19.

“I could move my arms and legs, but I couldn’t walk or stand,” he said. “I couldn’t put any weight on my legs. They couldn’t hold me.”

While he continued to struggle to walk, the steps he was taking were progress. Progress another one of his daughters, Danielle Ries, an acute Care Physical Therapist at MeryOne Waterloo, watches in person.

“My perspectives as a therapist differs from my perspective as a daughter,” said Ries. “I was able to see all the gains. I watched him stand up on his own for the first time, I watched him walk for the first time.”

Ries said the therapy can take months to get back to where he was before he contacted the virus, but Doughan was determined to keep making progress.

“He’s a go-getter, he’s so independent,” Ries said. “Tt’s not enough for him that he hasn’t walked yet, but from my perspective, that’s a huge thing.”

Reis said her dad was expected to be able to go home next week, but therapy would need to continue. She hoped this look at the toll the virus takes on the body was something that will persuade others to take the proper precautions to slow the spread.

“Just because you don’t have a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you won’t have an equally difficult time getting back to the state you were before COVID-19,” she said. “Not everyone can be as lucky. It takes a lot of work beyond anybody’s imagination.”

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