NEVER, EVER did we think Covid would hit our family so horribly!
As some of you know, back in November this past year, my little sister, Katie, who is only 38 years old, her daughter Alexis, husband Sal, Mom and Dad all became sick with Covid. At first, they all had the typical symptoms of fever, fatigue, congestion and cough. Thankfully, Dad, Alexis and Sal recovered without complications, but Katie and Mom got worse. On 11/17/21, Mom went to the ER and never came home again. After a chest x-ray, she was admitted to the hospital immediately. The next day they moved her to Covid ICU, and within 14 days, she went from high flow oxygen to Bipap machine, to being intubated, a lung collapsing, a chest tube placed, her lung collapsed again, and we lost her. So quickly and unexpectedly, our lives were sadly changed forever.
Four days after Mom was admitted to the hospital, my little sister, Katie, worsened. She went to the ER and was admitted to the same hospital immediately. Katie wound up in the hospital bed next to Mom in Covid ICU. As visitors were not allowed, the only peace we had was that they had each other there for the time being. One week after the shock and sadness of losing our 65-year-old Mother, my sister could not get enough oxygen and had to be intubated on 12/9/21. Moments before being put on the ventilator, Katie face-timed me with the doctor. She told me, "I'm going to fight," and gave me the thumbs up as I told her we all loved her, and I barely fought off the tears as I was scared to death this was happening all over again with my little sister, and we may lose her too.
After 12 days on life support in ICU, Katie had to get a tracheotomy on 12/21/21 because she still was unable to breathe without the assistance of the ventilator. Then we waited several days for all the sedation to be weaned off so we could talk to Katie again and to see what she remembered. We were apprehensive about how Katie would react to 'waking up' not being able to speak with a trach and the ventilator still helping her breathe. Would she remember that Mom passed away, or would we have to relive the pain of telling her again?
On 1/17/22, another month passed in ICU, and Katie was still unable to eat or drink with the trach, so she had to have another minor surgery to place a PEG tube to give her long-term nutrition.
Katie tested negative for Covid about two months after being admitted; finally, she was allowed visitors. We made sure Katie had someone to spend time with every day from that day on. This was important for Katie not to feel alone and, most importantly, for Dad as he was grieving to be with Katie to see she was ok. Dad has always been his three daughters' hero, but I know he feels helpless in this situation, and it breaks my heart.
After three months at Vassar Brothers Medical Center with little to no improvement, Katie was recently transferred on 2/17/22 to a Long Term Acute Care Hospital specializing in therapy for patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation to assist in weaning off the ventilator and transition to home. We are praying this is exactly what is needed to help Katie; however, this hospital is over an hour and a half away from home located in NJ. With the distance and wintertime in NY, my family cannot be there every day with her. This has been hard for both Katie and my family, especially Dad.
So now I am asking for help. I want to do anything possible to help my family. As Dad once told me when I needed help, 'Family needs to work together.' I want to help Dad stay locally to the new hospital in NJ so he can be with Katie while she continues to recover after what she has been enduring the past three months, and neither of them are alone. We don't know how long Katie will need to be at this hospital, and hotels are expensive. I can't afford to do it by myself. Any amount you would give would be greatly appreciated from the bottom of our hearts.
Thank you so much!