Published on February 01, 2021

Rodger McClain Amazes Doctors with His Recovery from COVID-19 

Rodger McClain recovers from COVID-19

Pictured with Rodger are his nurse, Karli, and pulmonologist Jaime Ungo, M.D.

Rodger McClain of Cleveland has amazed his doctors with his recovery from COVID-19 and inspired all those who have cared for him. Rodger, 53, woke up Dec. 20, 2020, unable to breathe. His wife, Karen, a registered nurse, drove him to the Emergency Department at Bolivar Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He was discharged home eight days later with an oxygen tank. He did well for several days—even working one afternoon at North Sunflower Durable Medical Equipment, where he serves as director. But Rodger took a turn for the worse and was readmitted to the ICU at Bolivar Medical Center on Jan. 8. The next day Rodger was diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), fully sedated and placed on a ventilator to help his lungs heal. After a week on the ventilator, Rodger’s family requested he be transferred to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo so that pulmonologists—doctors who specialize in lung issues like his—could take over his care. “We wanted the best for him,” Karen explains.

Rodger was admitted to NMMC’s Critical Care Unit on Jan. 17 on a ventilator. Slowly but surely, Rodger began to rely less and less on assistance for breathing. Six days later he transferred to NMMC’s Stepdown Unit, where he continued his comeback. “I’ve always been a fighter,” Rodger says. “If you’re going to do something, give it all you’ve got.”

He was anxious to get out of bed, walk a little, sit up in a chair, and eat and talk normally again. “Every day this man set a goal, and every day I would think it was too ambitious,” says Karli Wood Jones, RN. “But every day he would reach his goal.”

The McClains give credit to God first and believe the NMMC staff was anointed by Him to provide Rodger’s expert, compassionate care. “We put him in God’s hands,” Karen says. “Dr. (Robert) McEachern asked Rodger, ‘how are you going to find enough time to thank God for what He has done for you?’”

His nurses say Rodger is off to a good start. “All this man wants is to testify about what all God has done for him,” Karli says. “He has encouraged everyone who has come into his room.”

Rodger reached his next goal—going home—on Jan. 29. He’s anxious to spend time with his family, especially his two grandchildren, one of whom was born while he was in the hospital.

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