Dr. Amera McCoy
Three weeks ago, I picked my mother up from Northwestern hospital. She is a COVID19 survivor. Two weeks before picking her up, my mother was lying in bed at home, could not leave her room. She was fatigued, running a fever, and excessively using her sleep apnea mask during waking hours. I was having very similar symptoms, loss of taste, fatigue, difficulty breathing normally. I was consciously focused on deep breathing as I noticed my breaths were short enough to resemble a pant, and yet I hadn’t moved off my couch. It appeared as though all the melanin drained from my face, and I was paler than usual. Still healing from a previous procedure in January, I found the scars from the procedure hurting all over again. Though there was nothing to pinpoint where the irritation was coming from, enough CNN and hearing symptoms of others, I knew me, and my mother was likely COVID19 positive. I understood how quickly the virus takes a turn and how ventilators were short. I panicked. Begged my mother to go to the hospital because of her breathing became like mine I was scared she wouldn’t make it without a ventilator. I told her, “go now so you can get one.” She has every underlining condition that makes this worse, and the one thing I knew for sure is I wanted her ahead of the potential rationing of equipment.
I took her to the hospital. We pulled up to the door, and I knew that could be the last time we ever see her again. She was well enough to walk but weaker than some other patients who didn’t survive. I, at this point, was in the crux of battling my symptoms and doing my best not to have a complete breakdown. She went in, called my phone about 10 minutes later, while I waited on a side street, she said: “they are keeping me.” I knew that would be the case but now came the waiting part.
They gave her the dreaded COVID19 test
Four long q-tips through your nose to the back of your throat, they swabbed her four times. She told me it was one of the worse tests she has ever taken. She is a frequent patient with many ailments. To hear this was the worse, I cringed at how this would become a nationwide test. My mother was in the hospital five days with low oxygen, high fever, a gland infection, and pneumonia, which turns out five days later, was COVID19 pneumonia. Per the doctor, the gland infection was probably there, and then COVID19 worsened the condition. The nurses at northwestern called me every other day with status, right after their rounds. They told me their concerns. It was surprising to me the first call my mother told the doctors not to resuscitate her if she should stop breathing. We had never discussed her wishes, and the news overtook me because the entire point of the hospital was to save her in the first place. I called her room and lost my mind on the phone with her. I told her to change it RIGHT NOW, or I will come up there and get her because she is wasting everyone’s time if she doesn’t want to be saved. She said, “well, I didn’t want to come in the first place, you made me.” After she said that, I left it alone, she was right, I forced her to go, but I was right Covid19 was irritating her health more than usual.
My mom turned out to be one of the lucky patients with all odds against her; she recovered in the hospital.
I picked her up, and she had a list of food items I needed to buy her over the next week. She joked that COVID19 didn’t get her, but the food in the hospital almost took her out. Despite the lingering fatigue COVID19 carries, she seemed to be in high spirits. At this point, there were maybe less than 30,000 deaths to COVID19 in the country. My mother came out of the hospital with a care bag— which included, masks for everyone in the household, and antibacterial wipes for doors and handles. We rode in the car, and she had her mask on. I told her, you can remove that in the car I am pretty sure you already infected me before the drop-off. We can’t be sure who affected who, but it’s fair to assume, all of my siblings and our kids had already been exposed. There was no mask in my house before taking my mom to the hospital. I found my daughter in her room, making masks out of socks. She picked up the skill from YouTube. Although arts and crafts are fun, the only real safety was not to go out and potentially infect someone else.
We are one
All in all, our lives resume; however, I cannot help but think of the families that have dropped off a loved one never to see them again. I also think of the elderly population that never make it to a hospital. Never tell people what they are suffering through because they do not want to take space from someone else. Or they are so settled with the full life they have led they are okay with letting go of it, despite the wishes of the family. It’s all mentally overwhelming, puzzling how it got this bad, and disappointing our government hasn’t articulated the importance of saving lives by our actions collectively. Hopefully, many people come out of this with an understanding; we are all connected. State lines, neighborhoods, gated communities, glass offices, desk partitions won’t absolve from doing what’s right. Stay home, save lives.
More about the author:
Dr. Amera McCoy is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist who is the Owner and Founder of McCoy Consulting LLC, an organization that offers a suite of services for businesses and individuals including coaching, writing and workshops.
Facebook messenger: m.me/mccoyconsultingllc
Facebook page: @mccoyconsultingllc
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