By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A year after a frightening battle with COVID-19, a Broward County beautician cannot believe there are people who still do not believe the pandemic is real.

CBS4’s Hank tester reports about a life saved and talks to the doctor who is now regarded as “part of the family.”

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It is the little things that mean a lot for Acasia Paz. Things like a drink of water, walking around the house, watching TV with the family.

Just a little bit ago, Paz was in the fight of her life. It knocked her down real hard by COVID-19.

“I was 26 days in the hospital, after that, four months of recovery. The recovery was really hard,” said Paz.

Acasia’s COVID battle last spring played out at Broward Health North.

Dr. Amal Hanna, who was on her team, says “She was very emotional, she was anxious, she would cry when you talked to her. She was scared.”

Scared and with good reason, Acasia was very sick. It was a medical scramble to keep her alive.

“She was about 10 days on the ventilator. We started her on special medication which had just been approved, Remdesivir. She was one of the first patients at Broward Health North and received it,” said Dr. Hanna.

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Then came recovery. It was slow and taxing. Her lungs were damaged and therapy was difficult.

“I remember the first time they tried to wake me up, stand up from the bed. I couldn’t. I couldn’t walk,” said Paz.

“She had problems eating, walking. She was so weak, it took about 12 days to learn to walk again,” Dr. Hana added.

Now, Paz is back at work cutting hair. She has come along way. It has been a journey and after-effects linger.

“They close the store in March. Then open in May. I came back on October 14th. It was my first day of work.”

Paz is grateful to have survived COVID and has this message:

“A lot of people don’t believe in COVID. They say this is not true. It is like fake whatever but for me, it was really, really real.”

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Ocacia’s lungs are still not one hundred percent, but continues her recovery by walking. She walks up to five miles when she hits the street.