After she had been on a ventilator for nearly two weeks and was stable for a few days, Toni’s family thought she had turned a corner toward recovery. But COVID-19 is a cruel, unpredictable illness; I’ve heard many stories about the various paths it can take to ravage the body. Just as her family was starting to be relieved, she took a turn for the worse, and now her doctors have suggested that she be taken off life support tomorrow.
Here is how her sister Fran describes what Toni is going through right now:
Today Toni is struggling more than ever. She is in a lot of pain as she is being weaned off the sedatives. In addition to her ventilator tube and feeding tube, Toni has a chest tube inserted into her side ribs and lung and feels pain every time she takes a breath (sometimes she breathes over the intubation). She is growing weaker and has air pockets under her skin from the lung collapse, which also causes great pain. The air pockets won’t go away until she is off the ventilator …and in order to get off the ventilator, she has to come off the sedation because under sedation, she can’t breathe on her own. But when she starts coming off sedation, the pain is great. Her lungs are inflamed with COVID-19 pneumonia. When the doctors lower the sedation, she struggles with her breath. It becomes rapid breathing and she goes into respiratory distress. It’s a series of Catch-22s. Her COVID-19 pneumonia is severe. According to Toni’s lung specialist, for two weeks there has been no improvement from the point of view of pneumonia.
Not many people would knowingly and deliberately inflict this kind of suffering on others. Imagine, though, inflicting this kind of suffering on others unknowingly.
It is happening every day.