EbeneMagazine – AU – The harrowing story of a Michigan mother leaving her autistic son alone in the hospital to fight COVID-19 – Report Door

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Her autistic son had COVID-19 and had to be hospitalized despite the staff advising her that she could not stay.

«  » You don’t understand. You’ll have to carry me out of here. He can’t communicate, ”Warfle recalled when he told the doctors and nurses to stay. « You can put me in bubble wrap. « . I stay in a corner. ’“

At that moment, her 21-year-old son, Jonathan, who has always lived with his parents and takes life skills courses, became her hero.

« He looked at me and said, » Mom, it will be all right, « Warfle recalled. « I said to him, » I’m scared. Are you scared? « He said, » Mom, I have to get better. ’“

With a pain in her heart and tears in her eyes, she hugged and kissed him, pushed his tray of water and ice cubes over to him and left.

Three days later, Warfle was in the same emergency room again, this time with her 83-year-old mother.

Leona Smith – a bustling retired factory worker who hadn’t been hospitalized since her knee replacement two decades ago – also had COVID-19 and was having difficulty breathing. She lives in Perry with her daughter’s family and believed to have picked up the virus from her grandson, Warfle said.

Unlike her grandson, who has no pre-existing medical conditions, Smith has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – an inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs.

Warfle knew what she was getting into. As with her son, she had to leave her mother in the hospital and help her out from outside.

« She didn’t want to go in, » Warfle remembered her mother. “She convinced me that she was just tired. She said, “Pam, I just need to sleep. We can go in the morning. ’“

But Warfle took no chances. She packed her mother’s bags and her mini-oxygen tank, put her in the car, and had her 20-year-old daughter Arena drive her to the hospital.

It was about 7 o’clock. m. Nov. . 9 when they drove to the emergency room with Leona. Warfle carefully maneuvered her mother out of the car, held her up, and the two of them were walking arm in arm about 40 feet when a security guard spotted them and asked if they needed a wheelchair.

At least she had to go to the emergency room with Jonathan. This time she had to leave her mother at the door. As the hospital staff rolled her into the building, Warfle yelled from afar, “She has her medication list with my phone number in her front pocket. And your oxygen tank is only half full. ”

Your Jonathan was still alone in the hospital building, where the nurses were struggling to draw his blood and nudging him so often that they had to call his mother in the middle of the night to keep him calm and talk him through. He was fighting a virus that had crept into his lungs and wiped him out so much that he could barely speak when his mother called.

« It was so hard because I could only think of Jonathan, » said Warfle. « I’m so close to him and I had to turn around and leave him again. ”

For three weeks the Warfle virus had gripped Warfle in fear and fear. She sobbed. She prayed. She collapsed.

“There were times in the middle of the night when I screamed loudly in my front yard,” she said, “screamed to God asking for help and praying that His will would be done. ”

The Warfles live in a 3. 000 square meter colonial style – plenty of space for social distance. Mama, Papa and Jonathan live on the first and second floors. Grandma lives in a mother-in-law-style apartment in the basement. Jonathan’s younger sister, 20-year-old Arena, lives at Grand Valley State University.

Nevertheless, the novel coronavirus managed to find its way into the bodies of three family members.

Jonathan was the first to get it. It was about 4 p. m. Oct. . 30 and he called his mother at work to tell her he wasn’t feeling well.

« I said, » I’ll be there in 10 minutes. Stay away from grandma. Go downstairs and get the thermometer, ”Warfle recalled.

But Jonathan went down the stairs to the basement where his grandmother lives. When Leona Smith learned that her grandson was not doing well, she went upstairs to check his temperature with an ear thermometer.

About the same time, Warfle came home from work and saw her mother on the first floor.

« I go to the door and it stands there. I said « what are you doing? » She said, « I’m checking his temperature. He’s not feeling well, « Warfle recalled.

Jonathan had a mild fever of 100 degrees and a sore throat. He was quarantined in his bedroom and everyone else was wearing masks. The next day, his mother took him to a clinic and had him tested for coronavirus. It was a quick test. The results came back in two hours.

It was October. 31. A week earlier, the family had gone to a cider mill together – everyone wore masks – and their daughter had come home from college for her birthday. She and her mother had gone shopping together at the Great Lakes Crossing for three days.

After Jonathan tested positive, Warfle called her daughter at college and asked her to get tested, which she did the same day.

Until November. 4, Jonathan’s symptoms got worse. It was getting difficult for him to breathe. The GP ordered an X-ray and when the results came in, she advised him to take him to the emergency room immediately.

« I had tears in my eyes, » she recalled. « He said, » It’s fine mom. It’ll only be a day or two. ”

During his hospital stay, Jonathan was given supplemental oxygen and steroids and remdesivir – the same antiviral drug that President Donald Trump had. He went in on a Wednesday. Things went downhill on Sunday.

He could barely speak and grew weaker. At that time, convalescent plasma – collected blood plasma from patients who had recovered from COVID-19 and developed antibodies – was ordered. He got better within a few days – although his family couldn’t be sure to credit the plasma.

His mother kept calling the hospital and receiving regular updates from the doctors. The nurses were wonderful, she said, noting that someone with a psychological background was brought in to help her son.

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After days and nights of praying and crying, Warfle finally heard her son’s voice sound stronger on the phone.

« I miss you, » he told his parents on the phone. « I can’t wait to see you. ”

Jonathan returned home in November after a six-day hospital stay with an army of friends and family praying for him daily. 12th. He was shaky and weak, although he had gathered enough strength to eat Kentucky fried chicken and mashed potatoes. He took a few bites and went back to bed.

« I am grateful for my family, » said Jonathan in a Friday interview with the Free Press. He said that he had never been so sick in his life and that it felt good now to “just chill”, draw, play games and play with his two poodles Trixie and Jazzie.

While Jonathan was home recovering, Warfle turned her attention to her mother, who was struggling in the hospital. She was confused, weak, and often unable to speak or hang up. She got panic attacks and only her daughter could calm her down.

« I had to speak to her on the phone by breathing, » Warfle recalls. “I called her once and she answered the phone: ‘Nurse, nurse, come in here. I can not breath. ’“

Some days were worse than others. One night she remembers a nurse who told her that her mother looked flat, like she was giving up, which made her call the hospital even more.

Warfle campaigned aggressively on behalf of her mother, fearing that her age would prevent her from receiving the same treatment as her son. For example, her son got plasma right away, but she had to insist that her mother get it, which she eventually got.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, medical experts have believed that people of all ages with certain pre-existing medical conditions are at increased risk for serious illness if they contract COVID-19. Initially, this list was limited to problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, COPD, obesity, and cancer, although over time the list has grown significantly to include more than 30 pre-existing conditions.

On Nov.. . 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have added pregnancy along with sickle cell disease and chronic kidney disease to the conditions that could increase the risk of serious illness in children.

Older people are particularly badly affected. According to the CDC, more than 95% of COVID-19 deaths affect people older than 60 years and more than 50% affect people who are 80 years or older.

« We are more concerned about the elderly. We know older people are sicker. They don’t do it that well (with COVID-19). And we try very seriously to keep older people safe and healthy, ”said Dr. . Matthew Sims, director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Hospital.

Sims said older people hospitalized with COVID-19 “receive the same treatments” as younger patients, stressing, “We are not holding treatments because they are older. ”

The first line of defense is to give them extra oxygen. The second step is steroids. « The only thing we know more than anything that helps is steroids, » said Sims.

Then there’s the antiviral drug remdesevir, which Sims says is used for hospital patients in need of oxygen.

« It’s the only approved drug we currently have, » Sims said of remdesevir, noting that there is a lot of controversy about it. « WHO says not to use it, although data that FDA approved shows it does shorten the duration. ”

Then there is the centuries-old medical treatment known as plasma, which Sims calls « Ave Maria » for people on ventilators.

« Plasma has been used for over hundreds of years, but there’s little solid data to show that it really works, » said Sims. “But it made sense to try for COVID. ”

On Aug. . 23, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of convalescent plasma to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

According to Sims, the medical profession recommends treating patients with plasma within three days of their symptoms appearing.

« It might help if you give it early, such as within the first three days after symptoms appear, and if it contains high levels of antibodies, » Sims said. « There hasn’t been any real harm with plasma, but the problem is that it’s a finite resource. There is currently a great shortage of plasma. ”

And there’s no solid data to confirm it works, said Sims, who warns people not to rely on social media posts to determine whether or not plasma is effective.

« There’s a lot of social media out there – » I got plasma and was in the vent, and then I got out of the vent. « That’s anecdotal, » said Sims. “I tell people that. It could work if you give it early enough and it has high levels of antibodies. ”

In the end, the hospital staff came through big time for Leona Smith, her daughter said. Smith assumed she could barely speak one day and return to her old vivacious self the next. It was a call Warfle will never forget.

« I said, » Mom, hi it’s Pam, how are you? « Warfle recalled. « And she said, » Hello darling, I’m good! «  »

Warfle burst into tears as her mother continued, “I want to get out of here. That’s awful. ”

On the eve of Thanksgiving, Leona Smith was considered healthy enough to be released after 16 days in the hospital. Her daughter picked her up and brought her home, where her granddaughter, an aspiring nurse, took care of her.

« It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life, » Leona Smith said in a Friday interview about COVID-19. “It was just awful. I was … up there in the hospital praying that I would die. It was that bad. But God wasn’t ready for me I guess. ”

Smith recalls that she couldn’t get comfortable in her hospital bed, hurt herself all over the place and felt foggy. She credits her family for helping pull them through and calls her daughter “wonderful” and the nurses and doctors who looked after her.

« I felt sorry for you, » she said of the hospital staff. “They were run up there in rags. ”

In the meantime, Smith would like to encourage others who have the virus not to give up, no matter how dire the circumstances are. She also wants to send a message to the world about COVID-19.

Before COVID-19 hit her family, Warfle said she didn’t take it as seriously as she does now. She and her family wore their masks and practiced social distancing, but weren’t too concerned about it.

« I wanted to respect it, but I thought it was an exaggeration, » said Warfle. « I thought most people didn’t have a problem with that. ”

« I’ve said to people repeatedly, ‘I’m not just eating humble cake, I’m eating the greatest humble cake ever, » said Warfle, who hopes others will learn from their experiences. « Take it seriously. … my mother is a miracle. ”

« I knew it was real before, but now it’s a lot more real to me, » said Arena Warfle, who was skeptical of the virus before it hit her family. “I thought there is a possibility that it is political, that it will go away after the elections. ”

Tresa Baldas is an award-winning judicial and legal reporter and was named Richard Milliman’s 2020 Richard Milliman Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas.

This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: This Michigan mother suffered a COVID-19 nightmare. Here is her story.

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves to indulge in soccer games on occasion. She is a passionate journalist who has a perfect command of the English language. She is currently offering her skills in the Sport and Health of Report Door.

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Michigan, Coronavirus

EbeneMagazine – AU – The harrowing story of a Michigan mother leaving her autistic son to fight COVID-19 alone in the hospital – Report Door
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