By Yvette Tello

Covid-19 is not real until it touches your life. This is just one story, a true story, that I was witness to. As I shared last week on July 4th, one of my employees was taken to the hospital by his wife. She dropped him off at the front door and went to park her car. When she walked in, the security guard informed her husband had passed away when he walked in the building. His heart stopped. He was positive for the coronavirus. She was checked in positive with a coronavirus. She stayed in the hospital for a few days. She was sent home in a cab and a prescription for Z Pack, Zinc and Mucinex. At home, she lived with her husband and her 27-year-old son who was mentally handicapped. She spent a week in bed very weak recovering from the virus. The family went by and left meals at the front door on a daily basis and called both the son and the mother on a daily basis to see how they were and if they needed anything. Last Saturday was the last time anyone spoke to the son. He was very depressed over his dad’s death.

After a few days, the family became very concerned. I advised them to get a crisis unit to do a welfare check. (When dealing with mental health, please always let SAPD know so that they are able to send a crisis unit who is trained to deal with people with mental health issues). When the two officers arrived to meet the family, they were informed that the father had passed and was positive and the mother had survived and was also positive in the home. The officers did not want to go into the home.

They call their sergeant and paramedics. They went around the outside of the home by the window where the young man slept. They could smell something bad and flies coming out of the room. They entered the home and found that the son was dead.

Mom was taken out of the home to wait outside by herself leaning up against her car because she was very weak and it was very hot. The family and I had to wait down the street about three houses down. Neighbors came out of their home and they were very upset and angry that they were COVID-19 positive. They made nasty comments, ugly faces and slammed doors. Luckily mom was far enough that she didn’t get to see any of that but we did.

The sergeant had the crisis unit assessed her and had mom taken before the body was removed from the home. We are very grateful to the sergeant because she had just lost her daughter two years before, her husband a week before, and now her son. We just didn’t feel she would be able to handle seeing her son’s body being taken out of the home. We couldn’t comfort her, we couldn’t give her a hug and she was just lifeless, in shock as if she wasn’t even there.

After she left, we had to call Animal Control because they had five dogs in the home. We called a Sanitation Company to come out and sanitize for the coronavirus. They advised that we needed to remove the animals from the home as they were also contaminated by the fluids of the body and the virus. Animal Control arrived and we’re told of the situation and he called his supervisor immediately as this was above his head. His supervisor was so compassionate and immediately approved them to do what they needed to do to get the animals out safely. Then, the coroner’s office came in and removed the body.

Then the Sanitation Company came in and sprayed for the Coronavirus. As they walked out and asked how he killed himself as there was blood all over the room. The police officers never shared that with us; another blow. Now comes the worst part of the story; the aftermath. We called companies that do decomposition cleanup and it’s very expensive as they are dealing with biohazardous materials. We were informed that more than likely everything would have to be incinerated.

She didn’t just lose her family but now she has to lose everything that was left of them as well. She is currently in the hospital under psychiatric care because this is way too much for one person to handle and the doctors were very concerned for her to be left alone as she is positive for the virus, there would be no one that could stay with her. There is no home to send her to.

Now, the family is trying to make funeral arrangements for two with no insurance. The county has grants that the doctors were very gracious in giving us the information that they qualify for to help with funeral expenses. The money that they were able to put together can help her start her life over again. The problem with the grants is you have to apply for them. You have to have the person’s name, date of birth and social security number. Mom has that information. No one is able to contact her at this time as she is under Doctor’s care and is not able to use the phone.

She has either contracted the virus again or still has the virus. She is not on a ventilator yet but it doesn’t look good. I received a phone call from the caseworker at the hospital. I was the one that called the crisis unit in so it was my contact info that they had. Because she did not have health insurance and was enrolled with Centromed, they would have to give the referral to what hospital she could be transferred to. I was told we had to find out who the person was on her consent form so they could go in and sign for her.

We found out that she did sign a consent form but there was nobody listed with consent to do anything on her behalf. The caseworker asked me to get with the family and prepare a medical power of attorney because this may be necessary for Mom. She did not have renter’s insurance so the decomposition cleanup is really out of financial reach. They contacted the owner of the home who says he only has fire hazard insurance for this rental home.

The doctors do not think she should go back to that home even if it is cleaned up as she will have nothing left in that home and that will be very traumatic for her. This could be you, or one of your family members; this could be me. If something were to happen to me, no one would have any of my children’s information.

I am fortunate to have life insurance. But not everybody is. I do not have a medical power of attorney or a living will. I do not have a will. I am in the process of doing all these things now. This family has not been able to grieve because everyday has been spent jumping over hurdles. My point in sharing this story is even if the numbers are being inflated, this virus is real and it’s deadly. No not everyone’s going to die but people are dying. I knew this young man. He took his life and I seriously never thought that he could be capable of doing something like that but he was so affected by this damn virus that he did.

Coronavirus is killing in many different ways that we haven’t even started to talk about. I am sure that more people have done this for this reason than we know or talk about. They were not my blood but they were my family. COVID-19 is real to me. I hope that it will never be real to you but please prepare yourself and your family and your friends. If someone is positive, please call them. Support them and their family. This pandemic is affecting our mental health. Please don’t feel bad for me but please pray for this poor woman because I am scared to death for her because even if she physically recovers from the coronavirus, I don’t think she or her family ever will emotionally. The man raised all her broth- ers and sisters after their mother passed so they also lost the only father they truly knew. My heart hurts and this takes so much out of me when I think about it. This was not easy to share but I feel the need to so that we can all be prepared; that maybe this story will give you an inside look of this virus that some think is part of a media or political propaganda.

Some only think of all the misinformation that is being put out. Please stop focusing on that. Put yourself in this family’s shoes. If I lost my babies and the man I have been with my whole life, through thick and thin, would I be able to make it? Would you?