Donna and I were married for 44 years prior to her death. We lived in Oceanside, CA., both had good jobs and getting ready to retire and enjoy life, our target date was April 2022. Donna worked in a medical clinic call center. She had been there 13 years and shared a small office with a co-worker. The co-worker was fully vaccinated, Donna was not, and had her face masked while at work. During the second week of November 2021, the co-worker came down with Covid symptoms, but came to work anyway, because the wisdom at the time was vaccinated people couldn’t get COVID, and they couldn’t spread COVID. Friday, November 12, 2021, Donna started having symptoms. She picked up a home test kit and it came back positive. By the following Monday she was very sick, and I was on my way as well.
Her sister, who lived in a neighboring city, came over and took Donna to the hospital. Her 02 SATS were in the low 90’s so they admitted her, and the nightmare begins. I was progressively getting worse as well. My 02 sates were dropping into the high 80’s. I was in text contact with Donna, and she was concerned that my 02 was too low. I called an ambulance and was admitted to the same hospital as my wife.
Both of us became very ill, in fact I was pretty much out of it and it’s all kind of a fog. Some things I remember, but most of it I don’t. I just remember doing video calls with Donna. Initially she seemed to be getting better, her 02 was looking encouraging, then they started to crash. They had her on high-flow 02 and she was placed on her stomach. I was placed on high flow O2. For days I didn’t know if I were going to have to be ventilated. My daily visits with the doctors and nurses were not encouraging. I couldn’t sit up in bed or stand.
Then there was the news about my wife, Her numbers continued to fluctuate, and they decided she needed a ventilator. Her doctor told her chances that she would survive was very low. Even if she didn’t choose the ventilator; she probably wouldn’t live. She expressed to me how scared she was and asked me not to let her die in there. We opted for the ventilator. They put her on paralytic drugs to prevent her from moving while on the ventilator. The staff also asked if we would consent to a DNR. They explained how painful the procedures would be and even if they were able to resuscitate her, chances were that she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. She didn’t want that, so a DNR was agreed to.
I was diabetic and was on insulin, I don’t believe the hospital did a very good job of keeping my blood sugars in range. I also had no issues urinating prior to going to the hospital. While being admitted to the hospital, they decided I needed a catheter. For some reason they were not able to insert one, so without any discussion installed a super pubic catheter. I wasn’t asked about putting any type of catheter in, and never gave consent.
On December 1, 2021, I was discharged to a rehab facility. I was allowed to go to Donna’s room and be with her for 5 minutes. She was on her stomach hooked up to the ventilator and on sedation and paralytics. I was devastated seeing her in that condition. I had been able to protect her in the past, but now I was helpless, dependent on the medical community. I told her how much I loved her, and that I would be waiting for her to get better. I petted her head and held her hand, then I was ushered out of her room and transported to Brighton Place, in San Diego, where I spent the next three months. On December 7, 2021, at about 6AM, I got a phone call from my son, Donna had died at about 5:30AM
I received her death certificate which raised questions. They listed Non-Traumatic Kidney injury and hyperglycemia among causes of death, along with the COVID 19 pneumonia. Where did the kidney injury and hyperglycemia come from? She wasn’t diabetic and had no organ issues prior to COVID.
My life during the 3 months spent in Brighton Place, Spring Valley, CA.
I was transferred to Brighton Place from Scripps Hospital, after having survived their efforts related to COVID. The first night it was very cold in the room. I asked staff for more heat, they told me that the central air was not working because they were awaiting parts. I discovered a thermostat in my room, turned the temperature from 66 to 70, and the room became more livable. The next morning, a maintenance worker came in and removed the thermostat. I called the administrator and reminded him that state law required that individual rooms be able to control the temperature. Nothing was done and I would go out to the hallway and turn up the thermostat, and staff would turn it down. It was miserable cold. Another patient adjacent to me finally got a whistle and started blowing it at night because he was so cold.
On three occasions, my super pubic catheter became dislodged and was not draining my bladder. Once I reported this to the charge nurse, it took hours for them to call transportation to take me to the hospital, all the time my bladder is filling with urine and became very painful. On one occasion, I was in so much pain, I called the ambulance myself.
On the third trip to the ER, a doctor attempted a foley catheter, and successfully installed one. She said she had no trouble installing the catheter and could not see why I had the super pubic in the first place.
The food at Brighton was awful. For dinner we would get things like a salami sandwich. Most of the food was poor quality and I finally took to having food delivered by door-dash. The staff did not eat the food that was served to us. We would see food being delivered by caterers to the staff area. Buckets of chicken, taco platters, nice salads and platters of fruit.
My diabetes was not well managed. I would routinely run blood sugars of 350+. I asked that I be allowed to manage my own dosages. They were resistant to that, but I finally prevailed and though I was not allowed to do the injection, I could tell the nurse how much I needed. I was supposed to be on a diabetic diet, but was often given ice cream, sugary juices, and other high carb items.
Brighton Place started taking in patients with known COVID. They dedicated part of one side of the facility to COVID patients. They only used cloth privacy dividers to separate the hallway COVID zone. Staff did not change gowns, or any other PPE when going from the “hot” zone to the regular care side. When COVID started going through the facility, I wanted to leave and go have a meal away from the facility and spend the day off facility. I was told that if I left the grounds, they would not let me back in the building. I could not even go sit on benches in the parking lot.
I was ready to leave the facility long before I was discharged. It is my belief that I was kept there because I had not yet exhausted my insurance money. As soon as the number of days insurance would pay for were getting short, I magically started to improve, and a discharge plan was tendered.
There were times when the restrooms became clogged, especially on the weekends. When that happened, there would be as many as 6 patients using the same restroom.
I came out of there, but have kidney and other issues that I never had before.
I lost everything I had, I live alone in a small travel trailer. I’m not doing very well emotionally or financially. Everyday I hope for some way out of this.