This blog is dedicated to my Grandfather that passed away two weeks ago from COVID-19. Little did I know that I would personally be affected by the virus and how much personal protective equipment we would use daily to continue hospice care for him in our home.
We had to relocate my Grandfather because he had a very bad fall from having Parkinson's Disease. Basically that made him realize he either needed to hire a full time elder-care provider or consider having loved ones take care of him. I had to rush out and check on him myself and assess the situation in order to report back to my wife, so she could make the correct decisions whether we relocate ourselves and be closer or uproot him. I enjoyed the trip because he was still walking and cognizant of his surroundings. He could not walk his dogs any longer, but he was still shuffling his feet from room to room. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. We rode on his 44-Coupe to the gas station to get him some Twix candy bar. According to him this was a Whiskey Runner's Automobile back in his prime, but he still settled for that cookie crunch at his current age.
On my last day I noticed he seemed a little more sluggish in the morning. His son was coming to do a rotation himself, but unfortunately his health declined from the moment I left. My wife and I got reports daily that he struggled to get up each morning and often could not get up to even pee. We knew his health was on a very rapid decline. Hence taking another trip a few days later, to position him in our home. Well once my wife and I got there, we quickly agreed he was coming home with us. He was emotionally ready for a new atmosphere and would have driven himself, but he could no longer stand.
The next day was a precursor of what was to come. In fact, one of his closest friends was able to say goodbye. Our Grandfather whispered something in his ear that we would know of moments after he died, but this was between them until it was shared with my wife. We pulled up to our home and so did COVID-19. Shortly afterwards his temperature rose to 103° and my wife decided to call 911. A big crew of Paramedics and Firemen showed up to our door within a few minutes of the call.
My company has provided on some bulk orders with our respective county, so when I saw the Paramedics and Firemen enter with face mask I could also identify the brands used. The Paramedics used Moldex facemask and the Firemen used 3M. Each had some type of medical gloves on too. Those are harder to identify if you do not see the packaging box, but they were definitely Nitrile and Vinyl Gloves. Now, back to my Grandfather, well the Paramedics conducted routine questions and transported him to the Hospital. Hours went by before we got the call from the Doctor. The first few words from the Doctor was Grandfather has respiratory failure, pneumonia, and kidney failure. Also they intend to release him in the next 24 hours. The Doctor's final words is he has COVID-19 and that he is unlikely to "survive the hospitalization". That call basically put us into overdrive and we started looking into Hospice care minutes afterwards. First and foremost we wanted to get tested ourselves, so we did. The outcome a family of five, two positive and three negative for COVID-19. We felt very responsible to advise the hospice company in order for them to better prepare themselves.
Now for the prep-work needed before the hospital releases him. A few phone calls later my wife and a medical bed, two oxygen tanks, a nebulizer, disinfecting wipes, a few boxes of KN95 Respirators, two boxes of disposable face mask, and a few packs of isolation gowns are just to name a few types of PPE delivered to our house.
We noticed each nurse from the hospice company took a few minutes to gown-up when the pulled up to our house. All of them wore bouffant caps, isolation gowns. In fact a majority of them wore two types of face mask, KN95 and placed another layer of protection with a face-shield. Lastly they layered up with medical exam gloves before entering our home.
In closing, each day that my Grandfather was alive and on Hospice care, we literally went through a set of vinyl exam gloves, a set of KN95 Respirators, and some family members chose the 3 ply disposable mask when visiting our Grandfather on his last days. I am documenting this precious moment in our lives because the PPE not only provided protection but it also brought us closer taking care of him.
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