COVID-19 has been frightening experience

12/27/2020

Letter to the Editor: COVID-19 has been frightening experience
From the Marshall News Messenger

Merry Christmas, Marshall, Texas! I owe my deepest gratitude to friends and family here and throughout East Texas for their outpouring of support as I’ve dealt with recovery from a serious bout with COVID-19 pneumonia. It has brought me extreme comfort during this very difficult time to hear from you and receive your thoughts and prayers. My family and I thank you. Love is so powerful. I pray others going through this are getting support too. It’s a big deal to know others care and shows me our community’s true colors.

I’ve heard the anecdotal stories of COVID-19 not being that bad or being comparable to the flu with younger people. That may be true in some cases and if so, it is fortunate. In my case, it is was not true. This has been a terrible and frightening experience. It has not been simple.

One minute I felt a little difficulty breathing. Within a few hours, my lungs were closing in on me. I could no longer stand up and walk around without losing 20 points on my oximeter. The was no air to breathe because it was being blocked by heavy inflammation inside my lungs. I was beginning to cough out pink fluids and blood. Just moving my body to the side 12 inches caused a coughing fit so bad that I couldn’t breathe in or spit out the blockage. I was gasping for breath and trying not to choke on what were now viscous bloody mucous plugs my lungs were becoming inflamed and infested with.

It was like breathing through a day-old banana milkshake or through a very wet batch of your kid’s homemade slime project. This continued for about 20 hours for me as I sat on an ER gurney bed in triage, fighting to breathe and waiting to get picked for a hospital bed. The beds were full, and the wait was what it was. There were and still are plenty of sicker priorities ahead of 40-something year-olds.

At times it felt like I was trying to breath out of a 2-inch box. I would lose oxygen and then spend the next five frantic minutes trying to get it back to normal with concentrated breathing and attempts not to panic.

When you can’t breathe, your reactions go primal. Involuntarily you gasp to squeeze that last bit of oxygen into your system so you can live. Everything else around you is white noise.

Once I got that breath and several more, I created a mental picture of my Gaby, Grace and Dinora to add resoluteness. They were standing on a line. My focus was to keep that line level and centered with balanced breathing. “Fight the good fight,” I heard the doctor say as she passed my curtained ER stall. Several hours later I heard a nurse excitedly say “We have a room for No. 26”.

The rest of the story was a five-day struggle with treatments including plasma, Remdesivir, steroids, blood thinners, IVs, breathing treatments and an assortment of other meds and tests for my road to recovery. It was not easy, but I was treated by some of the finest healthcare workers I could ever ask for, many local and many from traveling nurse organizations. They saved me like they are saving people across our nation.

I pray you don’t ever experience this. If you are feeling thankful and giving this holiday, think about wearing a mask for the overextended healthcare workers who are putting themselves on the line for people like you and me. They fight for you. Fight for them! I would not have survived without them.

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 12/28/2020

12/28/2020

The computers have taken a bit of a holiday and there are currently no new numbers. 

MESSAGE FROM A EXPERIENCED INTERNIST IN THE HOUSTON AREA: 

“My comments refer to 100% of people that meet criteria to be hospitalized–down here:  the “mildest” are at real risk of death or disability and all have in their body a sick pathophysiology. One of my patients went to a good ER with his O2 sat at 92%, bilateral pneumonia, and he felt terrible. They were not wrong, but they had to send this 63-year-old, otherwise healthy man, home because he was not yet ripe enough to admit.

Then, a couple of days later, his Oxygen level had fallen to 89%, and he met the stringent admission criteria and was admitted. They are ALL damnably sick when they meet admission criteria.”

…J. Harris: 

 This type of selective hospital admission criteria is currently necessary in Texas and in most of the US because of the epidemic number of sick folks. In addition, people still get sick with “normal” diseases that require hospitalization. Unless you own a hospital and have a chopper, don’t expect automatically to receive in-patient care in area hospitals. To be sure, sometimes, emergency room care can diagnose and start treatment if you get Covid. Unfortunately, there is still no “silver bullet” medicine that will cure every case of Covid that rolls in. (Most of these patients are too sick to walk in.) In addition, when Covid patients have received hospital treatment and various series of medications, they are discharged right away because the ER’s are full of new, very acutely ill Covid patients who need the beds. 

We will never be adequately able to thank our heroic health care workers for their months and months of services. The best thing we still fortunate citizens can do at this point is to STAY HEALTHY. We can help prevent a preventable disease. Stay home when you can and mask, distance, and wash when you can’t. Covid is now a personal disease. Ultimately, you alone can prevent yourself from becoming ill, 

Now, Monday, 28 December, we all know several people who have or have had Covid— or who have died of Covid. I must say that most of the more recent cases of which I have personal knowledge, probably came home with asymptomatic school-aged children.  Until this current peak runs its course, I would not let my children go back to school. The White House proved that frequent testing won’t prevent spread in institutions. Through no fault of their own, schools cannot protect teachers and students and adult employees from disease. 

J. Harris

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