Me & Room 4095B: Open Letter to the Cars Family from Lisa Marie
As most of you have noticed I have been off the air since November 1st . On October 30th, I thought I was getting a head cold. I woke up on Saturday, Halloween, with a horrible headache and absolutely no sense of taste or smell. I knew something wasn’t right so stayed in bed the entire weekend and received a Covid test early Monday morning. By Tuesday November 3rd, I was confirmed positive with COVID -19.
By Tuesday evening I could barely move. I literally felt like my body was covered in concrete. This was definitely not like any "flu" I had ever had. I didn’t even have the energy to get up and get a glass of water. Living alone it was a little bit trying, and very scary.
My fever kept climbing to 103 and I couldn’t get it much below 100.5. I am somebody that has a compromised immune system and was in continual contact with my doctors and was advised that if things got worse I needed to head to the hospital.
By Thursday evening the heaviness in my chest had started and I felt like I couldn’t get air out. So I headed to Ascension Genesys Hospital. I was triaged in a isolated way and then was admitted with a fever of 103 and other symptoms to the Covid floor.
I stayed for six days. Six days that felt like eternity. There are so many factors that start to happen with the Covid-19 virus. Just when one symptom goes away, another one appears. When the fever finally broke the breathing problem started. High-dose steroids caused blood sugar issues, dehydration, potassium levels dropped, just to name a few. Having to lie on my stomach to breathe, and feeling like I had no control over anything my body was doing.
The Covid floor is a very hard place to be. You’re in a room and you’re alone aside from a roommate that is separated by a screen. The rooms have large fans with tubing through the ceiling filtering air with a loud hum of some type of a space module 24/7. No visitors, no deliveries. Labs and x-rays continually being done, and so many medications.
The nurses and staff you interact with walk in resembling something from a nuclear power plant. And before I go any further, the nurses and the staff are beyond amazing. They are truly angels on earth and I can never thank them enough. They are working so hard to care for patients in the worst situations. The fourth floor is filled with selfless, amazing human beings doing everything they can to make a very scary situation tolerable.
When the door finally opened to the room the day I was being discharged I felt like I was getting a whole new freedom. What ended up weighing on me was very emotional and surreal. These nurses and the staff members stopped what they were doing and wished you well. They clap for you, and tell you how glad they are that you’re going home. It was incredibly emotional for me because I was lucky to be going home. I don’t say that to be dramatic, I say that as a fact. Some are not going home quickly. Some not for a very long time, and some not at all. There are patients in the hospital that are older than me...scared, confused and alone. And they are dying.
I had one of my amazing nurses start to cry in my room. She had a "moment" and she tried to apologize. I told her it was totally fine to let it out, and she just looked at me and said, "It's just so hard when they’re old and they’re not going home". She talked of the many elderly couples they had had on the floor...one in ICU, and one not. There are patients coming from memory care centers and crying for help because they don't understand. This nurse just needed a "moment". She had already seen so much, and with no end in sight right now. I was honored to listen to her.
I am very blessed, and very very lucky. I KNOW that. I am home. I am still on quite a few medication including insulin as a result of blood sugar issues caused by the steroids that I’m being treated for. It’s temporary and for that I’m grateful.
I wanted to share what I’ve learned from the doctors and the nurses. The ones on the frontline since this nightmare started. You can make your own choices, your own decisions, your own conclusions. But if you are sick… Even a little… Stay home. Your employers will understand. Your friends will understand that you can’t meet them for dinner. Your family will understand. Take the time to make sure that you aren’t positive for COVID-19. Wear a mask, follow the rules, and pay attention.
I never thought it would be me. I am 55. I was lucky. Many are lucky. Some will have only a few minor symptoms. It’s all over the place on how it affects people. I don’t want anybody to have to go through even a minute of what I had to.
Stay strong, stay healthy, and be nice to each other.
Much love and I’ll see you on the airways real soon.