One of the most heartbreaking things about Covid-19 is knowing that if your loved one is hospitalized, they will be alone. And that’s exactly what the Sullivan family and so many others are going through right now.
When symptoms started for 58-year-old Natalia man, Brian Sullivan, he thought it was just allergies. He tested positive for Covid-19 finally on Monday, November 23rd. A couple days later, he started struggling to breathe just, and Sullivan was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, November 25th, having oxygen levels in the 70’s and low 80s.
“By the time we realized it was COVID-19, he needed more critical treatment,” his daughter Krystal Ramsay said.
“He just went downhill so fast,” said Sullivan’s wife, Cindy, who was ICU nurse for over 20 years. “He was fine one day, and he really thought it was just allergies, and then all of a sudden he really started having a hard time breathing. So I hooked him up to my pulse oximeter and sure enough his oxygen levels were in the 70’s and low 80s. When you have levels that low it affects your heart, brain and other organs because they aren’t getting enough oxygen. It also causes arrhythmias which it did for Brian.”
Sullivan was intubated 5 days later.
“That was the last time we go to speak to my daddy, when he said goodbye to us before they put him under sedation to intubate him,” Krystal said. “Now we just live by the phone, waiting for one of the nurses or doctors to call.”
“At the hospital, they allow one person in the room on the 28th day after symptoms initially appeared which will be December 20th. Even then, only one person will be allowed in and that will be my mom. We are hoping he stays strong ‘til then and that the protocol doesn’t change,” Krystal adds. “It is heartbreaking because we can’t be there to give him a reason to continue to fight…I don’t wish this on anyone. It’s horrible.”
“It’s a struggle for the patient, and for the family because we know he is struggling and nobody can be there with him,” Cindy adds. “I am grateful that he has two nurses at his bedside 24/7 during his EMCO treatment. The nurses and doctors have been so wonderful.”
“The EMCO treatment is done using blood plasma donated by Covid survivors,” Krystal added. “It filters the blood and oxygenates before flowing the blood back into his body using plasma. If you have recovered from Covid-19 please consider donating plasma. It is helping save many lives right now, including my daddy.”
Krystal adds, “Before this happened, I respected Covid, but I wasn’t worried about it. Now I’m more cautious. It hits differently when it’s personal—when it’s your dad. If you think you might have Covid, or have been around someone with Covid, please just go get tested, and don’t sit and wait to get treatment. The further along you get, the harder it is.”
“Don’t let this happen to you or your family before you start taking this seriously,” Cindy said. “I have heard so many people say it really didn’t hit home until it was one of their loved ones.”
It seems that we just never know who Covid will hit the hardest, the Sullivans related, “My husband is a little overweight, but otherwise healthy and a active, hardworking man.”
“My dad is the rock of our family,” Krystal adds. “I would not have ever thought it would affect my dad this way…not in a million years. Out of all of us, he’s the healthiest one. He always has more energy than the rest of us. Keeps going when we can’t.”
“To all those who have contacted us, please be patient as we are still trying to understand what is going on and his status changes frequently. We’d like to ask you to take a second to say a prayer for my daddy. We appreciate all of you who have called or messaged to check on him. You all mean the world to him, and your support means the world to us.”
Note: The date Cindy Sullivan will be able to see her husband is Dec. 20, not Dec. 15, and this article has been edited to use the correct date. We regret the error.
By Kayleen Holder