KEEP YOUR COVID GUARD UP!
Monday, March 28th, 2022
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
KEEP YOUR COVID GUARD UP!
With a new strain of the Covid lurking, there are reports of a major uptick of infections this coming summer. If you are not that concerned, let me tell you how my Covid experience transpired. What happened to me was horrendous. I would not wish it on anyone. I was being careful. Or so I thought.
But then I learned a stark lesson. You don’t get the Covid. The Covid gets you.
In the fall of 2020, I made the mistake of attending a dinner on behalf of a close friend. I planned on staying just a short time, and thought I was keeping my distance. But somehow, I became infected. The symptoms were shallow at first. I felt a little flushed and did not have a lot of energy. I went to a local testing lab that did confirm I had contracted the virus. It was time to get some medical help.
The advice I received from my internist was to go to the emergency room of one of our local hospitals. My nephew put me in his truck and drove me to the emergency room. Both of us felt it was the right decision and I will be put in good care. What a mistake!
No visitors were allowed at the check-in desk, so I was put in a wheelchair, rolled into an unheated hallway, and there I sat. For almost three hours. I told several nurses’ aides who passed by that I was quite thirsty and could I have some water. Each nodded, but I never received anything to drink. That should have been a sign right then that my care would be suspect.
I was finally given a room that would be my home for the next 12 days. It was a miserable experience. The care I received was satisfactory when I could get it. But attaining the responsiveness of the hospital staff proved to be elusive. If I rang the hospital buzzer by my bed and asked for something to drink, it often took several additional calls, and a wait for an hour and a half for someone to respond. The nurses provided adequate care once I got their attention. But the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.
Once, in an effort to reach the bathroom, I slipped and fell onto the tile floor. I lay there for over 45 minutes calling for help before a passing orderly heard my pleas. My narrow hospital bed was extremely uncomfortable, and the food was, well, hospital food. Tasteless, not particularly nourishing, with few choices.
With virtually no effort to help in my rehabilitation, I concluded I had to get out of the hospital. The nurse in charge told me I was not ready to leave, but I knew if I did not make the effort, I might not ever get out of there. So I have my son picked me up, and brought me back home.
What a relief to get in my own bed. A wonderful home healthcare nurse stayed with me for the first two weeks. I was so weak, she had to assist me in moving the few steps to the portable toilet in my room. She also bathed me, as I had no energy to even raise my arms. But little by little, I could see my strength improve.
My physical rehabilitation began with a therapist coming to my home three times a week. At first, it was difficult to walk the length of my house. But after about 10 days, I was outside in my yard. Slowly, I increased my activity and could see major improvement. It took about four months of outpatient therapy to get in full recovery mode.
Covid was the worst medical experience of my life, and I continue to be angry. I’m annoyed that I allowed myself to be exposed to the virus. I’m livid at the hospital for the poor care I received. And I’m disappointed over the fact that at my age, I have lost six months of living a full and active life.
But I’ve been persistent in my recovery. Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I’ve certainty been tenacious in making the best of a debauched situation. And I’m a survivor. But keep your guard up. You certainly do not want to share my experience.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. Readers can also review books by Jim Brown and many others he has published by going to http://www.thelisburnpress.com.