Helen went overseas for the trip of a lifetime.  She returned to QLD after an amputation and is unable to walk

Helen went overseas for the trip of a lifetime. She returned to QLD after an amputation and is unable to walk

It had been two and a half years since Helen Auer had seen her daughter.

She eventually traveled to Canada with her husband Trevor and drove through some of the country’s most scenic mountain regions with her daughter and her partner, and the pandemic-induced wait seemed to be worth it.

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But just two weeks into the trip, Auer contracted COVID-19.

He has not been able to walk since. Her hand was amputated and she lost a significant muscle in one of her legs.

Auer went to Canada three times vaccinated against the disease, but after a few minor symptoms she quickly fell ill.

She could not walk, struggled to breathe and was in excruciating pain.

Her loved ones took her to a local hospital where the decision was made to transfer her to a larger hospital in Calgary.

Queensland woman Helen Auer has suffered the life-changing effects of COVID-19 after contracting the virus while on holiday in Canada. Credit: Delivered

“I couldn’t walk, I remember being put in a wheelchair at Canmore Hospital and the nurse talking to me,” Auer told 7NEWS.com.au.

“And that’s it. All I remember is a rough ride in an ambulance – with sirens and lights on – and then nothing for almost three weeks.”

Auer was put into a coma that lasted two and a half weeks. During that period, her loved ones endured an agonizing wait.

Helen and her family enjoyed an incredible trip across Canada. Credit: Delivered

“My family got the worst of it,” she said.

“For two and a half weeks they wondered if I would survive.

“Even if they decided to wake me up – which they did – will I be brain damaged?”

“They went through the whole ordeal. I slept through it. I couldn’t handle all the stress. They’re the ones who need medals for what they’ve been through.’

Helen Auer needed to have her left arm amputated. Credit: Delivered

She woke up with her left arm amputated above the elbow due to a blood clot. She needed the calf muscle on her right leg removed because the muscle had died.

She also had chest pain from compressions administered by hospital staff when she went into cardiac arrest on her first night in the hospital.

She was “very, very, very short of breath” and needed support to breathe and was also placed on dialysis as her kidneys shut down.

It is not known why COVID affected Auer so badly.

One of the doctors’ theories was because he has an autoimmune disease.

Diagnosed with the disease five years ago, she took medication and was “completely under control for years”.

It was also thought that she may have had an “underlying” illness that was triggered by the virus – or vice versa. But again, that was just a theory.

“They couldn’t pinpoint anything that they thought could be that bad for me,” Auer said.

After two months in a Calgary hospital, she was declared well enough to fly to Brisbane.

Two nurses accompanied her on the flight, after which she was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, where she remained for two weeks.

She has now been taken to hospital in her home town of Bundaberg.

Long recovery

Her goal is to leave the hospital and return home. But it won’t be easy.

“I’m just thinking, ‘Okay, this is my life now.’ I have to get up and go,” she said.

“Where I am now, I’m starting my rehabilitation. These are just exercises I have to learn to stand again, to regain my balance, I have to learn to walk again.

“It’s rehab and trying to get out of the hospital and get home.” That’s the ultimate goal – to get home to my house and my dog ​​and my husband.”

Her family has set up a GoFundMe to support her recovery efforts, which will help pay for her medical expenses as well as anything she needs at home to help with her rehabilitation, including potential modifications to her car.

Asked about the global debate about lifting restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, Auer expressed concern.

“I’m very worried about getting it again,” she said.

“I’ll be wearing a mask because I’m quite worried about getting it again.

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