My Views on COVID
I’ve been asked a number of times what my opinion is re COVID and restrictions.
First let me express my deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, who have loved ones on life support and to all of those who need rehab after surviving COVID. My heart breaks for all of you. I know what it’s like to have a loved one on life support, I know what it’s like to watch someone struggle to walk, talk and eat again.
I also want to express my thanks to all the hospital workers caring for so many. Not just the medical staff but everyone who works there, the cleaners, the kitchen staff, the people who bring the food and the snacks, etc.
I favour restrictions
I favour contact tracing
I favour the vaccine passport
I favour passing a bylaw requiring all businesses to require the vaccine passport.
I favour protecting hospitals from protesters, let them picket the provincial building
I favour requiring employees to either get vaccinated or provide a negative test if they work with others or the public
Our hospitals are overwhelmed, surgeries are being cancelled, treatments delayed for thousands of patients, many will die of cancer, heart disease and other conditions because COVID patients are taking up all the ICU beds.
Our health care workers are overworked, demoralized and despondent.
We’ve had more deaths in Medicine Hat in the last month than in the previous 18.
My late husband Carl spent 30 days on life support 4 years ago when he was sick with Influenza A and Strep Pneumonia. He did have a flu shot but it was a bad match that year; I am convinced it was what saved his life. It was not COVID but it was a serious respiratory illness and many COVID patients will undergo the same experience.
Carl on high flow oxygen, 2019, one step below a respirator. We didn't keep any pics of him on life support. He was attached to the oxygen port on the wall and could not leave his bed.
Carl’s oxygen was so low (68%) they were worried about brain damage. A full ER waiting room and they took him first. His heart rate was over 200, they had to shock his heart twice in the ER to get it back into rhythm. They had me say goodbye before they intubated him, he was not expected to live. His blood pressure was so low they were worried not enough would get to all his organs and his extremities, they were concerned they might have to start lopping off body parts. His lungs and kidneys had already failed.
I did not know from one day to the next if he would live or die, sometimes it was one hour to the next. Every day I would visit – I would read him the newspaper like I did when we were trucking together and I’d comment about the articles like he could hear me. I am so grateful that I was able to be with him every day; I feel so bad for the families that cannot be there with their loved ones now.
Carl had one Registered Nurse dedicated to his care and his care only – if they left for 10 seconds, another RN took over. Right now ICU patients don’t have that ratio, that is scary.
It’s not just nurses, it’s an entire team. Carl had contact with respiratory therapists, RNs, a urologist, a cardiologist, a neurologist, a nutritionist, a pharmacist, radiologists, a surgeon, an otolaryngologist, physiotherapists and I probably forgot some ologists.
They gave him the last chance medication – if it did not work, they had nothing more.
He lost 50lbs in 30 days, it was 48 days before he could take anything by mouth; he had two seizures from Refeeding Syndrome. He had to have two surgeries - one for a tracheostomy and one for a feeding tube in his gut. He was so weak he needed a lift to move him from the bed to the wheelchair; he had to be washed like a baby. Fortunately he did not remember very much of it.
Hospital rehab included Speech Language Pathologists, Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists. Carl was able to come home after 75 days in hospital, he had to learn to walk, talk and eat again. They called him the “Miracle Man”.
This was his first meal, on Valentine's Day. The kids kicked us out of his room and set this up for us. I'm not a Timmie's fan but it was the best Valentine's Day I ever had.
Carl experienced ICU Delirium and Post ICU Syndrome. He had nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression – every time he got the sniffles, he was worried about having to go back in the hospital again. I still have Caregiver PTSD 4 years later.
A family trip after he survived. L-R Standing Lala, Carl, Me, Kelci, Megan
Front Memphis and Brooke
Carl with his cousin Glyn Yuhas summer 2019 at Echo Dale Park. When he had to learn to walk again, it was a challenge with his artificial leg.
Rather than shut down our economy, it makes financial sense to use a vaccine passport. The more seats we can fill in Co-op Place, the more seats a restaurant or bar can fill, the more money can be made and the more jobs are available.
If all non essential services must do the vaccine passport program, the playing field is levelled. People can get angry at council rather than the individual businesses, they will be united in their anger. I’ve got broad shoulders, I can take the heat. There is far too much division right now, we need to come together. Council needs to lead the way, to set the example.
The ones that survive being on life support with COVID will have weeks if not months of rehab ahead of them assuming they can ever return to work at all. The families will have mental health issues to overcome as well.
We are going to need mental health supports like never before – for the patients, for their families, for the health care workers who are doing do their best.
Health Care Workers really are heroes. It’s not just the doctors and nurses and technicians, it’s everyone that works there. When Carl passed in 2019, they put a sign on his hospital room to let people know. I watched as the person who came around with the evening snack saw his door; she damn near burst into tears.
Our Government Failed Us
Our province and our city have failed us.
Our mayor and council could not even be bothered to show up to the press conference held in August with Merrick Brown (Managing Director of Emergency Services) and an AHS rep to plead with people to get vaccinated. Our illustrious mayor talked about people who had a fear of the virus “for whatever reason”, subtly mocking them.
“There are people who are afraid of this virus for whatever reason. There are people who are fully vaccinated that are still afraid of the virus for whatever reason. So you’re going to have to respect that fear,” he said. “The health-care authorities have been spending 18, 19 months drumming up this fear, it’s going to take a while for it to go away.”
As of the date of this post, our mayor has not said one word of condolence to the families who have lost loved ones. City Hall lowered the flags for one man but not for the 58 that COVID has taken from us at the time of this writing.
Once again to all the families, my heart breaks for you, you have my deepest condolences.
To all the workers caring for COVID patients, my heart goes out to you. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for caring for Carl for so long.
In healthier times.
Many at the hospital may recognize this hat. I still have it and I wear it every now and then.