I'm A Single Mom With COVID-19 — I Can't Die From This

by Vanessa Nichols
Originally Published: 
There Is Nothing As Terrifying As Battling COVID As A Parent
Courtesy of Vanessa Valenziano Nichols

Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen to my brain but I need to share this…

All COVID-19 stats aside, all testing number arguments and mask arguments aside…

I had to drive myself to the ER last night because I’m COVID-19 positive and my oxygen saturation at the urgent care was between 80-84% on 3 different reads. I was struggling.

I couldn’t ask anyone to risk infection and I couldn’t stomach the thought of allowing my symptoms to reach 911 proportions and having to take that route. I took the risk of driving myself, albeit not feeling safe to do so.

I was crying in the ER when I was first put into a room. Because I was really fucking scared.

I know I’m young-ish. I know statistics tell me I will be okay, but we keep hearing stories of strokes and blood clots from COVID. And just…what if?

My brain went into a dark place for a few minutes because I was close to being delirious and I was having a really hard time breathing.

I typed the words “I’m a little scared” to a friend when I was lying there, because I needed someone to know how real this was for me.

My son was home alone, at least for half the time I was gone — because again, I couldn’t risk infecting someone — and all I could think about was if… I left him… because of this virus.

Like, 140,000 other Americans who left their houses since March 10th to seek medical care for COVID and who didn’t return to their families.

What if I just left my kid for the last time?

Who will take care of him the way I do?

Courtesy of Vanessa Valenziano Nichols

How broken would he be when someone delivered that news to him?

Who will fight for his rights now? Which, as fucked up as it sounds, was my biggest worry. Who will fight for my transgender kid if I’m dead?

Like. Dark place thoughts.

Even if I just had to be admitted, I was still really fucking scared of my son feeling just that piece of information.

I didn’t want him to be left alone.

The ER nurse was a lovely woman who shared with me that she’s leaving healthcare because of this pandemic, “or at least leaving the ER,” she said.

She said, “I can’t believe what we’ve done here, or what we haven’t done here. People have really stopped caring. The stress of all of this is immeasurable. I mean, look, you’re 43 and struggling to breathe, crying, and here I am covered in a near hazmat suit, and I just want to give you a hug. Everything in healthcare… and in life… feels forever different. But few people care until it happens to them!”

Right on. I felt that on many levels, about a few things in my life. I wanted to hug her, too.

I promise you, you don’t want to feel what I felt last night.

Courtesy of Vanessa Valenziano Nichols

I promise you don’t want to drive yourself to the ER when your whole body feels like jello and you’re not sure if your foot is on the peddle. All the while stressing over how much money this will cost because healthcare is a joke in this country.

I promise you that you don’t want to sit in a hospital bed wondering why you forgot to execute your will, feeling confused, brain foggy, and a little delirious.

I promise you that you don’t want to imagine your kid home alone being told that you’ve been admitted to the hospital because you’re unable to breathe. Or worse, that you’re on a vent or dead.

I promise you just don’t want to gamble with it.

We know that completely eradicating this virus isn’t possible, but we could be doing a hell of a lot better.

I just want people to digest it as much as they can and benefit from my over-sharing spirit. Please do better and be proactive.


Update: I am home and feeling a little better today! And my son does seem to be on the mend after about 15 days of symptoms.

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