Pneumonia #COVIDDiariesOfACC

Kylie Muscat, Contributing Writer

How have students at Arapahoe Community College felt since the strong changes brought on by COVID-19? #COVIDDiariesOfACC is a mini-series composed of non-fiction diary entries from students at ACC. Thank you to the student contributing writers for these pieces to publish on the Arapahoe Pinnacle.

By Kylie Muscat

At the beginning of this COVID-19 panic, I truly believed it was media ailing the total panic Americans were throwing themselves into. I was angry that this “mild virus” was changing my way of life. Now I see COVID-19 for what it is, a terrifying possibility I may lose my father. My dad has a skin condition for which he needs to take medication; this medication suppresses his immune system. Two years ago he contracted pneumonia, for a week he coughed up blood and ran a fever. Suddenly, he could no longer breathe on his own. Within the span of six hours, he was transferred from a normal hospital room to a room in ICU in a medically induced coma, fully intubated. I will always be scarred by the memory of my father lying on an ICU bed in only his pajama pants, writhing from the pain and gasping for breath. His skin soaked with sweat and the doctor looking my mom and me in the eye and telling us they were worried he would “tire out” soon and needed “help to breathe.” For a week he stayed on that breathing machine, the awful beeping of the monitors, the way his body would involuntary jerk when he coughed, but tubes that violated him prevented him from coughing for himself. There was one tube in particular that slowly sucked liquid out of his lungs, a nasty grayish-green concoction I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

For the past two weeks we have been isolated. The family I nanny for has contracted COVID-19 and are self quarantining, thus I have been out of work for three weeks. As the healthiest member of my family (with a driver’s license) I have been the sole person allowed to leave the house for necessary reasons. I have gone to the grocery store to purchase food for my family, gone to the pharmacy to pick up medications, and even gone to different doctors’ offices to pick up medical records. I have prepared all meals for my family as they adjust to working from home and school work from home. My parents have set up an office in a spare room and despite their differing jobs have teamed up to support one another in this new work-from-home world. My brother, 13, hates school from home. He has Asperger’s, a form of autism, and this change has been detrimental to his psyche. My sister, 12, on the other hand, loves this new school. She has been efficient and completing all of her work early so that she can “enjoy the afternoon sunshine.”

This has been hard on everyone, not just my family. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to go back to work next week. My dad is 39 years old and usually healthy as an ox. Every time I look at him I hear an echo of his ICU doctor in my head, reminding me, “Once someone has been on a ventilator once, they are more likely to need to be put on one again.” He is 39. He turns 40 this summer and a part of me is terrified he won’t make it to his 40th birthday party. So I pray and I study my scriptures, I maintain a positive attitude for the well-being of my family, I do my best to make their adjustment easier. Because right now that is all I can do in the face of this pandemic.