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Mary Clarices's Story

Montalba, TX

I lost my husband and my son 12 days apart.

If I didn’t have faith in God, I would completely give up.

We Both Got Sick

My story began on August 4th, 2021. I came home that day from working at the food pantry and I was very dizzy and felt terrible. I told my husband, Jeff, that I had to lay down. I went to bed that day and I barely moved out of the bed for days. I just knew that I had Covid. Two days later my husband followed suit, and he too went to bed and didn’t get up. We were not coughing, nor having a hard time breathing. We were just miserable and weak. On the 10th of August Jeff said that he thought he should go into the ER, he was very weak. My son came and got him and took him to UTHealth, in Athens, Texas. I am not really sure what transpired at that point, except that my son left him there. I was very sick at home.

On August 12th, I asked my son to take me to the ER, and he took me to Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler, Texas. I was so weak that I thought I was going to die. I was in the hospital for five days and released. My contact with Jeff during this time was pretty sketchy, we just had a couple of phone calls and we were mostly worried about one another. During one of the calls he told me that they said his heart wasn’t working very well, but he sounded pretty good otherwise. So I got out of the hospital on August 17th and came home with oxygen to use at home. At this point my son, James, and his whole family now have Covid. My son, Joshua has come to stay with me.

My Son Was Taken

“ I can’t breathe. No one will come and help me”

I try to talk to Jeff as often as I can. He doesn’t have a cell phone and oftentimes the phone in his room rings and rings and no one answers. I occasionally talked to the nurses and their usual info is that he’s slowly improving. As soon as I was able to walk around without oxygen anymore, I started to try to get in to see my husband. He’s 75 years old and I felt like I needed to get in and see how he was doing. I really had no idea how he was doing.

One day when I talked to him he had gotten up and taken a shower and had walked a little. I was very encouraged by that. But then I noticed he was having a harder time talking on the phone and I didn't get much information. Then my son was also put in UTHealth hospital. He is having a hard time breathing. I do not have his medical records, as my daughter-in-law has them, but I do know that he called me several times for prayer. One night he called me, I could barely understand him. “ I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. No one will come and help me.” Can you imagine getting this phone call!! My son that was staying with me called the hospital to send someone into his room. James’ treatment got no better and he became intubated on August 27th, and I lost my wonderful, 34-year-old, strong healthy son on September 19th, 2021. I will let his wife tell the rest of his story.

Kept Away From Him

“I talked to the patient advocate, begging to get in to see my husband.”

Back to Jeff. On Friday, August 29, I once again called the hospital and talked to the patient advocate, begging to get in to see my husband. I asked if they had been getting him out of bed at all (he had told me on an earlier call that they hadn’t), and asked that they would, because he had pneumonia, and I knew laying in bed all that time was not good for that. I kept reiterating that I really needed to see him. The patient advocate told me that she would set it up so that I could FaceTime with him. Later that afternoon that did happen, Jeff was sitting up in a chair, and he talked to me for just a few minutes, as he was having such a hard time. I had heard through the grapevine that I would get to see Jeff on Monday because the hospital was starting a new policy. I could not get him on the phone on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday morning by 8 am, I was at the hospital, seeing my dear husband for the first time in three weeks. He was sitting in the chair, just where I had seen him when we FaceTimed on Friday. He’d been left there for all that time. His breakfast was sitting there. I tried to get him to eat something, but he said he couldn’t. He said he couldn’t eat or drink anything because he’d have to go to the bathroom, and he couldn’t do that, it would be too big of a problem if he went to the bathroom. I said, “ Did you get in trouble for going to the bathroom?” And he said, “Yes.” I tried to convince him that they were wrong to tell him that, but he wasn’t very coherent and didn’t really understand what was going on. I was totally shocked at his condition! When the nurse came in, I talked to her about it, and also told her that he’d been sitting in that chair since Friday. She had just come on duty after being gone for the weekend. She had been the one that had sat him there. She was a good nurse. I asked for him to be moved into the bed. That finally happened late afternoon.

Neglect and Abuse

“He just acted like it was no big deal. Basically just brushed me off.”

When the doctor came in the morning, I told him how shocked I was at his condition. I said that he had really changed since I had been talking to him on the phone. Do you know what’s going on? He replied, “ Yeah, he’s got a bad case of Covid.” That was all he had to say that day. So when Jeff was finally moved out of the chair, I was aghast! His whole rear end was completely raw, blistered, and bleeding. Both butt cheeks, down his legs, and short ways up his back. He obviously had been sitting in his urine a long time. He had on a depends, yet the Chuck pad that was underneath him was stained with blood. It broke my heart to see that my husband, the man I loved, could have been so horribly cared for by an institution that was in the business of caregiving.

I would say at best, he was semi-conscious. He could answer questions, but there was not much conversation. I don’t know how long it had been since he’d eaten. He wasn’t feeding himself, although he would barely eat anything because his mouth was full of sores. Appalling! I went home that night just agonizing over it all. The next morning we talked to the doctor about putting in a catheter. I told him about his rear end. He just acted like it was no big deal. Basically just brushed me off. I told him twice that I wanted him to look at it. The second time I asked him, he said, “ I’ve seen it.” Which was a lie, as he hadn’t been in my husband’s room since the day before when he was still sitting in the chair. That afternoon he came and talked to me about having my husband sign a DNR, but Jeff said no. Jeff said he’d try to live. The Dr. told us he was heading for being vented. I think it was that day that they had a respiratory therapist come in. He was pretty appalled at Jeff's rear, and he worked it out to get Jeff a mattress that helped alleviate some of the pain from it. I wonder why at this late date, finally a respiratory therapist?? I would guess that around this time was when Jeff’s organs began to start to fail. First, they were having problems with his blood pressure, it kept dropping. They were medicating him to get it up.

He Was Given Remdesivir

On September 6 around 3 in the afternoon, the Dr. came in and told us that Jeff's kidneys were failing and that he wasn’t going to recover from that. At that point, Jeff did sign a DNR. I would have never guessed that before 8:30 am the next morning he would be gone.

I would have thought there would have been a little more indication sooner, at least giving us a chance for our out-of-state children to get here to say goodbye. Yes, Jeff was given Remdesivir. I do have his hospital records. I had never asked them to give him anything else, because I had asked the nurse if they would give him Ivermectin, and she said no, it’s against hospital policy. I lost my husband and my son 12 days apart. If I didn’t have faith in God, I would completely give up.

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