Critical: Surviving COVID
Goldie Award 2021
Critical: Surviving COVID
"How far do you want us to go to save your life?"
What? Save my life?
Doctor Patel waited patiently for my answer.
"I don't want to die, but I am not afraid. I want to live, but I don't want to be on life support."
The realization I might be in some serious trouble hit me full on. My friend, Garry, had died of COVID just hours before.
Thoughts rambled through my mind. I can't die. I have a book proposal to submit to an agent next week. Larry doesn't understand banking even if I have tried to tell him.
The next thing I remember, I lay in a hospital bed situated in a tent for COVID patients, lines ran out of my right wrist hooked up to what, I didn't know.
"I have unfinished business. I can't die," I told my nurse.
I do not remember what she said, but her words weren't reassuring. No one was telling me I would be alright.
"Will you agree to a donor plasma transfusion," someone asked?
"Will you agree to receive Remdesivir?"
Either this will help me or kill me, but I don't have a choice. My oxygen levels were below 88 and falling, which was enough to deem me critical. Someone strapped a Bi-PAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) mask to my face.
Did I fall asleep? Was it a vision? Did I have a dream? I don't know. To my right, I saw two yellow lights. The one on the right, my mom, dad, and brothers who had gone before me, called. Mom told me to go back. The left light was unfinished business, I think.
I texted my daughter, Megan.
"Post a message on Facebook. Tell my friends I have COVID and in the hospital."
A friend text.
"Penny, we are praying for you.'" She listed the names of the women who were lifting me up in prayer."
"Mom, you won't believe the number of people who are praying for you. The messages are coming in from all over the world. I didn't realize the number of friends you have."
The knowledge that hundreds of family and friends were praying gave me great strength and courage. My stomach rolled with the weight of those powerful prayers. I looked up and saw the Heavens rumble and roll. Dark moving clouds billowed. A beacon of light beamed through. That scene would appear again and again in the days ahead, but I didn't understand.
God, I want to live, but I am okay if you have different plans and want to take me. Even so, I knew I would have to fight for my life. I relaxed, took God's hand, pushed my worries aside, even the knowledge my friend had died: no negative thoughts, no politics, and no bad news. My decision was made.
Doctor Patel came by later that evening, or was it the next day?
I looked him in the eyes.
"I've decided to live."
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