Darla Regains Her Normal at the YMCA

When Darla Singleton was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020, she had no idea that she was in for the battle of her life. Through her amazing strength and determination, she is continuing to fight a battle against the effects the virus had on her.

COVID-19 Makes an Entrance

In April of 2020, when the pandemic was making its grand entrance, Darla and her husband were diagnosed with COVID-19. While her husband was able to manage the illness and recover at home, Darla was admitted to the hospital. Much to her fear, two days after she was admitted, she was placed on a ventilator. With not much known about the virus at this time, all she knew was that her health was not going in the right direction. Darla stayed on the ventilator for two weeks. She does not recall most of her time in this state and what she does remember seeing was very grim. Through all these blurry scenes, Darla prayed, “God, I need your help.” Defying the statistics, Darla recovered. She was in the ICU for 2 weeks at Community North hospital; a total of 5 weeks in the hospital. Paired with her faith, Darla’s strength and determination landed her clear of the hospital, but her fight was not over.

The Aftermath

Darla was put on oxygen and found herself depleted of strength and balance. Getting around the house by herself proved to be more difficult than she could have imagined. She found herself struggling to accomplish tasks she would not have thought twice about only a couple of months prior. Darla described this time as “very humbling.”

The Need for More

After several rounds of physical therapy, she started to improve, but she was not completely back to normal. Both Darla and her husband knew she needed more help, but the insurance would not cover additional rounds of physical therapy.

When she thought things couldn’t get any worse, as she was letting her dog out, and fell all because she couldn’t get her leg high enough over their step. Two black eyes later, Darla realized that she was still having trouble with everyday tasks. The physical therapy had helped her, but she needed a place to continue to work on herself.

Darla and her husband decided to check out some of the gyms that had reopened to see what protocols were in place. With their SilverSneakers memberships, the Singleton’s visited the YMCA closest to their home: the Benjamin Harrison YMCA.

The Wellness Director, Jen, gave the Singletons a tour. Darla recalls her being very helpful and sympathetic to their situation. The pandemic had directly impacted them and they wanted to take every precaution possible. The Singletons were happy with the cleanliness and the procedures that were in place at the Y, so they both felt safe in joining. At this point, Darla was using a cane. She spoke with Jen about her coordination and balance and the need for an exercise routine. Jen scheduled Darla for a Wellness Appointment and helped Darla get settled into a fitness routine that she could stick with.

Taking the Next Step

Darla was on a great path to recovery. Her exercise routine was set up, but Darla’s husband knew that a little support was just what she needed. Through their regular visits to the Y, they met a personal trainer, Emily. Her kind and caring personality made her the very person Darla needed.

Darla began her training journey with Emily and it was a perfect match.

“Emily is sweet and patient, but don’t let that fool you. She is a tiger inside! She is so knowledgeable and knows exactly what moves I need to make ME stronger. I think they are so simple at times, but she has built my balance and it has been so helpful. She is my best cheerleader and I feel so encouraged. I really don’t have the words to say how much she has helped me,” Darla said.

Emily knows how to push Darla
Emily wants Darla to do her best and she pushes each session to make that a reality.

Further Progress

Darla and Emily meet once a week for 30 minutes. Emily starts with simple movements and builds from there. She recognizes when Darla is fatigued or when she’s pushing her a bit too hard. This approach has helped Darla stick with her workout routine and gain results.

“I am back to being more like me,” Darla said proudly. “I am not done with my journey but if I can help inspire others – if I can help someone begin their journey – then I want to do it. God has a plan for me and I think this is it.”

Darla has done just that. She has told her story. She has inspired her friends, other YMCA members, and the staff to push themselves a little further each day to reach their goals. Darla could have let COVID be the end of her story, but she didn’t. She has put in the work to bring make herself a happier and healthier person.

No matter what battle you are facing, your YMCA family is here to help. Simply joining can begin your new, personalized journey. Our staff is here to help you be the best version of yourself. Please stop by Member Services, give us a call, or send us an email to see just how we can start your journey today. If you are already in a steady workout routine and want a push, see how  Personal Training can impact your journey today!

Darla focuses on each movement to improve balance and coordination.

Darla puts her all into each workout session.

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