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One woman’s experience with COVID-19. A cautionary tale about how easily the virus spreads and how excellent care helped save her life.

Lujan had no idea that her life would change so much overnight.
Lujan had no idea that her life would change so much overnight. “We live in rural Ontario in Dornoch, and thought being out here, we’d be safe from the virus,” she said. 

Lujan’s husband works and lives outside her community five days a week because of the long commute. One day she said he returned home earlier than expected because he felt sick. He had many of the symptoms of the virus and he went to the COVID-19 at the Assessment Centre in Orangeville. He tested positive. 

Soon after their two sons, who were living at home and Lujan, also tested positive for COVID-19. Her elderly father-in-law aged 102 who was living elsewhere but had likely caught it from her husband, also tested positive. They are all recovering. Her father-in-law still needs some oxygen therapy to support him but otherwise he is doing well. 

Lujan was the only member of her family who required hospitalization.  

She said one of her son’s drove her to the Emergency Department at Headwaters when her health quickly deteriorated. She was taken very quickly inside and admitted. She spent her first week in the ICU. Then she was transferred to F-Wing.  

Lujan said she didn’t want to bother nursing staff when she was strong enough to communicate with them but sometimes she had to ask for help with even the most personal requests. 

“They helped me with everything and did not complain at all when they had to put on all the gear over and over again,” she said. “I survived because of care I got, I am lucky to be alive,” she added. She also added that she had great care by Dr. McKinnon who kept in touch with her and her family regularly, even after being discharged to make sure she was doing ok. 

She said she is practicing the exercises she was given in hospital. She learned how to breathe and blow bubbles through a straw to strengthen her lungs. She has also been taught new sleeping techniques that encourage her to change sides regularly through the night, so that she is not always sleeping in the same position. 

“We are now home, each living in separate rooms, trying to do the best we can,” she said. 

She added that when her neighbours noticed they were not outside, working the land, they came to check on them. Since realizing her family needed help, her neighbours have been getting their land tilled and ready for planting, checking on them regularly and dropping food on their doorstep. 

She said her first few days at home were hard and she was sleeping a lot. She has regular check-ins with community health nurses to make sure she is managing well at home. Even though she is not 100 per cent recovered, she says she is doing much better and knows it will take time. 

“I have had wonderful support from so many people, family members, church members, and many friends from around the world, with prayer, even strangers,” she added. “I pray to God we get out of this epidemic soon.”