Vickey McDonald works with physical therapist Ana Stone, PT, at Valir PACE. PACE therapists say Vickey is one of the hardest workers they know in physical therapy, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

By Theresa Green

It’s the season when we talk a lot about miracles, and one Oklahoma woman will tell you she is living proof they exist.
Vickey McDonald, 62, spent more than half a year hospitalized.
“I had two heart attacks, seven surgeries, spent almost seven full months in the hospital,” she said.
Her prognosis was grim. McDonald says she was told by doctors at the hospital in February that it was unlikely she’d survive.
“It was very grave, yes. She was given really no chance of survival at all. Pretty grim,” said Tracy Bates, a nurse practitioner with Valir PACE.
Doctors at the hospital planned to send her home on hospice care, but McDonald chose a different path, enrolling instead in an all-inclusive care program called Valir PACE. It is a holistic program of care that offered help with her medical, therapy, dental, transportation, home care and other needs. It all sounded too good to be true.
“At first, I was like, this is not for real. You got to be kidding me,” she said. “But then I realized they really do everything that lady said they would do. They really do.”
Now, several days a week, you will find McDonald hard at work in the physical and occupational therapy clinic at PACE in downtown Oklahoma City.
“She’s one of the hardest workers I know in therapy,” said Kirsten Paschal-Wilson, Valir PACE Therapy Manager. “She wants to be there. She shows up. She puts in the work, and it doesn’t stop at therapy. When she gets home, she keeps putting in the work because she loves her life. She loves to live it and she’s going to do it independently.”
It’s more than just therapy, though. McDonald is seen regularly by the team of health professionals in the PACE clinic too.
“Just seeing her be able to walk out the door and walk back in on a regular basis. A year ago, for sure, I don’t know that would have happened,” Bates said. “She’s very determined to do the very best she can do as long as she possibly can. She’s a fighter – 100 percent a fighter.”
McDonald’s is a story of sheer grit, determination and what many, including her health team at Valir PACE, might call a medical miracle too.
“It’s hard not to get emotional,” said Bates, her eyes welling with tears, “because it shows that I am where I need to be.”
And McDonald says clearly so is she.
“Went to my doctor in August for my six-month check-up. He said, ‘Let me explain it to you. When you left the hospital in February, you had a zero percent chance of survival. So whatever you are doing, you need to keep doing it.’”
The grandmother of 10 is determined to keep doing just that, working hard to get healthier, to continue to live life independently and to prove wrong those doctors who gave her no chance of survival just ten months ago.
“She swears up and down that she wouldn’t have doe it without PACE,” said Paschal-Wilson, “But I don’t think she would have done it without herself either.”
“Life is a gift. My family is so precious to me and I’m thankful that I am able to spend more time with them. I thank God every day for Valir PACE. I’d sing it from the rooftop if I could sing,” McDonald said, adding with a chuckle, “When I get my voice back, I might do that.”