Knowing the numbers does not necessarily motivate some of us to get vaccinated urgently. Until COVID hits home, only then you start to see for yourself who survives and who doesn’t. This is why I would like to share my family’s experience with you.
Recently my family (father, mother, and two nephews who live with them) have contracted COVID. My father (75) has medical comorbidities, including hypertension and atrial fibrillation. He developed a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
My sister brought him to a public hospital where he waited overnight for his COVID test results in a holding area in a tent outside the hospital building. The next day, 31 August, we were fortunate to find a private hospital for him. My father needed oxygen supplementation. He improved and was discharged 14 days later.
Two days after my father was admitted to the hospital, my mother, who was symptomatic and tested positive for COVID, was also put on a waiting list. We had to purchase a pulse oximeter and oxygen tank to support her breathing at home as her oxygen saturation (O2sat) was dropping.
When space became available, she was finally admitted to the hospital with her O2sat already at around 84 per cent. My mother was 74 years old, and was taking oral medications for hypertension and diabetes. She received all the treatment for COVID, similar to what would be given here in New Zealand for moderate-severe COVID. Despite the available treatment, she continued to deteriorate over the next few days requiring intubation and ICU admission. She eventually passed away on 14 September.