Sunday, December 13, 2020

Covid 19 - We Are The Lucky Ones

It all started on a Friday when my wife had the sniffles and a cough.  I had little doubt that she had a cold.  After all, Penelope, had been through two hip revisions and eight weeks of infusions and had not ventured out of the house except to go to the hospital.  However, our son, wife and one year old granddaughter were on their way, moving to Santa Fe, so Penelope became, in my opinion, a little paranoid and wanted a Covid test so we would not communicate the disease.  We called our primary doctor’s office and they told us we could get the test there, but it would take 4-7 days to get the results… well, the family would be here by then. When questioned they told us there was a faster way with 24-48hour results:  Our local hospital, Christus St. Vincent’s, had taken over a defunct Kwik Lube Station turning it into a ”Drive-thru Respiratory Collection Site”!

Making sure the hospital had received the required doctor’s order in advance, we drove over and found the new testing place right next to the Toyota oil change stop. Not only did they check us out on the list at the entrance, but from the car we had to call the hospital to reaffirm our doctor’s order.

We were then directed to wait on a line in front of one of three bays. Instead of a car rack on which to hoist the car there was a nurse with a hospital dolly and, after being asked all the questions yet again, my wife got the swab up the nose. 

I suggested that I get the test too, since if she had it, which I doubted, I too surely would.  It seems that it does not always work that way and, since there is a limited supply, I had to have symptoms.  By now you have guessed the results my wife tested positive and I got the symptoms, so I went through the same routine just two days later.  In my case, however, I first waited in line at the Toyota station and got a good laugh from the oil change mechanic when I told him my symptoms… oops went in one entrance too early!

Within a couple of days our primary care doctor called to see how we were doing and went through the CDC’s latest recommendations.  Also, as luck would have it because of her staph infection Penelope is still a hospital out-patient under the care of, Dr. Palestine, an infectious disease specialist who had been at the forefront in dealing with the Aids epidemic. In addition, she had made a friend of one of the main nurses for the infusion clinic who gave us wonderful advice and moral support. They all said the same thing, they hoped we had the lighter variety of the disease.  Until then I did not realize that even existed.  

Then more advice came.  There was a new program at the hospital just started two weeks earlier of Monoclonal Antibody Infusions.  Because of my wife’s condition and our age, Dr. Palenstine was able to get us in the program.  The treatment does not cure the disease, but it can lessen the seriousness of symptoms.  It involved a one-hour infusion and one hour of observation in spaces that had been hastily set up in the ER department.

The symptoms we have experienced imitate the flu or a bad cold but there are also chills, diarrhea, exhaustion, and loss of taste and smell.  As my kids would have said when they were little, “I feel “Yukky”!  What the doctors are most concerned about is breathing.  I am all for breathing!  Happily, though our oxygenation, which we can check with a little meter on the finger, has remained high. Our doctors have checked in on us by phone and a nurse from the hospital calls us daily to get our “vitals”, listen to our symptoms, and chart our progress.

Of primary interest to us is that Dr. Palestine confirmed that 10 days after our first symptoms we would no longer shed the virus and put others in danger.  If we would have had a severe case, additional days of isolation would be in order.  We have decided that 2 weeks will do it and we can hug our granddaughter again!

In the meantime, we are lucky indeed to have great medical care in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

No comments:

Post a Comment