Coronavirus: Township Resident Returns From Hospital; ‘It’s No Joke’

Karen Duffy laughs with two nurses after she was taken from an ambulance that brought her home after a month-long battle against the coronavirus.

Karen Duffy’s homecoming on June 3 was a noisy affair.

It wasn’t just the cheering and applause from family and friends who had gathered on her front lawn to welcome her home, and it wasn’t the siren from the Frankin Township Police cruiser blaring from the side yard.

No, the jewel on the homecoming celebration crown came a couple minutes after Duffy was taken out of the ambulance that took her home, when engines from Community Fire Department screamed down Hamilton Street in her honor.

Duffy had recently won the battle of her life; a month-long fight against the deadly coronavirus, with more than half of that time being on a respirator in an induced coma.

Welcoming her home was her husband, Thomas, her daughter, Krystle and other family and friends who let their feelings be known as soon as the ambulance door was open.

“I had two tests and they were both negative, so boom!” Duffy said as her stretcher was carried out of the ambulance by two nurses.

Duffy was tested after she’d had a sore throat and fever, her husband said. When she began to have difficulty breathing, she was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick. Within an hour she was on the ventilator, he said.

She remained on that ventilator for two weeks and two days, her daughter Krystle said.

“I am doing pretty good,” Duffy said. “I’m better than that, I’m very good, I’m here.”

“It’s been a long road, and let me tell you, this ain’t no joke,” she said. “This thing ain’t no joke.”

Thomas Duffy also tested positive for the virus at the same time, he said. He spent three weeks, on and off, in the hospital before he beat the virus.

“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “A little weak.”

As for advice she would give anyone who might think they need to be tested for the virus, Duffy said don’t wait.

“Do not hesitate,” she said. “Because you don’t want to wait, you don’t want this to be forever.”

“I just love my friends and my family,” Duffy said, her eyes tearing a bit as she looked around at the crowd.

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