Back in March, before the shutdown and before all the testing was rapid and available everywhere, my family got very sick. Maya Lys, my then 9-month-old, was turning blue and struggling to breathe. She was sick, and the illness was in her lungs. At the hospital, she underwent x-rays and monitoring. The doctors eventually sent us home, telling us that if she has COVID and also got the flu, she wouldn’t make it. She’s too young, too weak, and she wouldn’t fight both off. Lyla May got sick shortly after.
We had to monitor their blood pressure, breathing, and temperatures, and get regular x-rays, too. The doctors were afraid to put us in the hospital again because of the sudden influx of sick people, both with the flu and COVID. They gave us monitoring tools and daily virtual visits. This went on for over a month. My older kids got sick enough that they both ran high fevers and missed four days of school. Lana Jade missed the last few days before the schools shut down.
Brian and I got hit pretty hard. He has asthma, and I am immunocompromised. Vitamins, antibiotics, breathing treatments—it was a long haul, and it completely destroyed my immune system. My doctor says that it depleted me so badly that it was the cause of my kidney failure not long after, since I had nothing left to fight infections. I tested positive for COVID.
We stayed home for over a month. We survived, but I’ll never forget watching my babies fight for each breath, watching them cry with the pain and achiness for days, wondering if I was going to wake up in the middle of the night to find one of them dead.
We woke up regularly realizing Maya had stopped breathing again, and there I was, turning her upside down, crying, begging her to take a breath, trying to dislodge the mucous in her chest by hitting her back, praying she would breathe.
I spent time in the hospital myself, having to leave Brian to care for all four kids himself.
All because of this virus that so many equate to the flu.
I have lost loved ones to this virus. I have seen others survive, only to live with the results of it, which have made their lives harder. COVID has stolen so much of their joy, as they can no longer enjoy the leisure activities they used to because they will forever have breathing problems.
I watched my babies struggle for air, I would never want them to live that misery again. I wouldn’t want any other family to live it, either. I don’t know any parent who would want to wonder night after night if their baby was going to live, or anyone who would want that for their friends or loved ones.
Don’t make another family suffer just for your dining excursion, or because masks aren’t comfy, or because you want that Christmas party. It isn’t worth it. Really.
-Lynnette H., Westmont