Woman recovering from spine surgery in an LA rehab facility tests positive for COVID-19.

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

With a 103 fever, shortness of breath, chills, massive headache, cough, and not at all recovered from spine surgery, the Rehab facility discharged Elisa Wishan and had an ambulance transport her HOME, to figure out how to take care of her COVID-19 infection on her own. LA Channel 11 covers this story and the link is shown below. (She is shown here with her fur-baby, Shilo)

Elisa Wishan, age 54, Celebrity Fashion Manicurist, Porter Ranch California


My COVID-19 story began on March 6, when I entered Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, to have a C5-C6 disc replacement. The doctor decided to transfer me to Century City Rehabilitation center in LA and  I was transferred there on March 10th. I would be rehabilitated, so I would be able to go home with the goal of being able to take care of myself, which would include being able to climb the 40 steps that I had in my home.

In my job, I work with celebrities, and ironically, on March 10th, it was announced on the news that COVID-19 was now hitting the United States and some celebrities had contracted it. One of them happened to be one of my clients that I had worked with, recently.

The doctors decided to place me in quarantine temporarily, to make sure I didn't show any symptoms that would indicate that I was positive for the virus. I actually begged the facility to test me for my safety but they declined.

To pacify me, they brought the CEO into my hospital room to have a discussion with me, to try to reassure me and keep me calm. They decided to keep me in quarantine until March 26th.

3 days prior, I had been having severe headaches- strange headaches, nothing I had ever experienced before, but I really did think it was related to the neck surgery that I had. But, medications weren’t working at the time-nothing would touch this headache! (At this time, I still wasn’t even able to swallow food due to my surgery and I was still only on purée and liquids.)

A couple of days before I started to have any kind of extreme side effects, coffee and Coke zero started to taste very different to me and I had lost my sense of smell. That day I also began to get an awful sore throat; I still thought that was all surgery-related.

The Rehab Center decided that they were going to release me on March 26th at noon: that was my discharge time; however, on March 26th, in the early morning hours of 3 a.m., I was tossing and turning, freezing cold, trying to get warm. I at first thought it was because the air was so cold in the hospital room, but my chills were so severe that I couldn’t get warm. The hours went by with me freezing and curled up in a ball trying any way that I could to get warmth from my body and the covers. At 5:30 in the morning, I started crying because I was feeling so horrible, so sick; I knew something was NOT right!

I started to get very anxious and pressed the button to call the nurse and explained to her what was happening and at first, she/they thought I was making it up -literally thought I was making it up, even my fever of 103 !! Somehow, I was able to make that up too?? The thought was, I was doing this, just so I could have rehab longer...?? (To be honest, I didn't want to spend another minute away from home.. who would??) I wanted to sleep in my own comfortable bed and be back with my little fur-baby, Shilo.

By now, I was also having a hard time breathing, I was coughing, and having a lot of mucus. The nurse called the respiratory department, and they took X-rays of my lungs, but still did not have me tested for the Coronavirus. (They finally decided that afternoon to come in with special forces and test me through my nose, through my mouth, and by having me cough into a cup)  The late afternoon into early evening, I still was in quarantine: now please understand, before I was in quarantine, this hospital still wasn’t wearing masks or gloves and I was roaming around this hospital doing physical therapy, so nobody would’ve known what was going on, or that they might be coming into contact with someone that could have the Coronavirus.

That evening I got a phone call from the doctor telling me how sorry he was, as he confirmed that I tested positive for COVID-19. My fever was 103 .7. I was struggling and felt horrible, and he told me that he was going to discharge me and send me home in an ambulance. (I WAS BEYOND SHOCKED!!) I was so sick with such a high fever, I had lost both my taste and smell, had shortness of breath, was coughing, and had a headache that no medication would take away.

I had nurses and physical therapists in and out of my room but in that facility, which wasn’t a normal hospital, nobody was sick there and they had no idea how bad the virus was out there. No-one is sure how I got it. When COVID hit the US, this facility had locked down, like many and they wouldn't allow visitors in. No-one there had COVID-19 that anyone was aware of, so the only thing I could guess was when I had ordered a Postmates bag and ordered soup, that possibly I contracted it from the person who delivered the soup? One nurse made a comment, "I’m not sure if I got Miss Wishan sick or she got me sick". The nurse had been gone for five days and then came back, so it could have been then, or it could’ve been me walking the corridor, hallways, and stair-wells, during my physical therapy that got her sick. It was a mystery. Supposedly nobody there had had COVID, they never tested anybody and I demanded them to test people but of course, they wouldn’t listen, their goal was to transfer me by ambulance to my home, knowing how sick I was and let me try to figure it out on my own.

In a facility full of people with strokes, cervical surgeries, etc, they felt they needed to get me out of there so it didn’t begin spreading in their facility. (They did something wrong and illegal, against insurance) but around March 27th or 28th, I was transported home with a 103-degree fever: watch LA Channel 11 news covering my story here.

Even the ambulance team was in shock, they wanted to turn around and take me to another hospital as the fever was so high and I was feeling so horrible; I couldn’t get warm and they kept having to put ice packs on me to bring down the fever. The headaches were so intense; way different than someone would have after neck surgery.

Once I was home, I continued to decline, and the health department was notified. They came to my home and I had to sign papers and I was taken to a facility for more testing. I ended up having to go back because I was coughing up blood. I had been laying on my bed and had a tele-visit with a doctor- he and my puppy were the only company I had most of the time during my illness. It was very scary and lonely. My family kept bringing food to the front gate and I was blessed to have a friend from Canada come to stay with me and quarantine away from me on the couch. He did everything he could do to help me while risking his own health. (He never got the virus, I am happy to say)

On April 18th, I was finally negative for COVID-19 and an antibody test was given to me on April 19th, which was, of course, positive for antibodies. I still suffer from a myriad of after-effects: shortness of breath, COVID headaches, severe achiness, a choking feeling in my throat, nerve pain in arms and legs, as well as cramping, and my emotions are all over the place.

I went to a pulmonary specialist, cardiologist, an infectious disease doctor who has been following me ever since and he has assured me this is not in my head and what I’m experiencing up to the writing of this story, November 8th, is valid and is from a Coronavirus infection.

I, like many Long-Haulers still have a number of doctor's visits that I have to attend, God knows how many procedures I had, just to help me with the esophagus issue. My speech and talking have been affected. My sleep has been affected. I have pain in most of the nerves in my body. I feel like I can't swallow, talk, think, etc.. this virus did a number on me.

We need to stand up and support each other and be there for one another because if somebody doesn’t have this virus or it hasn't affected someone that they personally know, they usually can't and don’t understand the side effects. In some cases, people don't want to try to understand, as they think it's not real and that it’s nothing, but the reality is, IT IS REAL....(tears are coming down my face, as I write this, as what I have experienced since early March, is not something that I wish on anyone else!!)

My advice to those who have not gotten COVID-19 is to please take daily vitamins, to keep your immune system up, wear gloves when you’re going places, wear masks when you’re around people: please try and stay safe because the virus is real and it is causing havoc in so many lives right now. COVID-19 is serious: it’s no joke, people are dying and many of us who did not die, are continuing to suffer 7-9 months later, with no end in sight. Please......believe that it is real and it can change your life in the blink of an eye..

Elisa PRE-COVID.. working out and feeling healthy

Her quarantine roomy and best buddy, Shilo

Elisa and her beautiful mom, Marsha

A not so great day with COVID & trying to recover from spine surgery.

My brother, Eric and I hiking on a beautiful day!!


Mom and me on a special Mother's Day!

Elisa, her mom, Marsha, and her step-father, Martin enjoying a family moment.

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