Nov 12, 2020 11:34 PM

COVID-19: My Story Episode 11-Peggy Ramos

Posted Nov 12, 2020 11:34 PM

Nick Gosnell:

This week's episode of COVID-19: My Story is with Peggy Ramos. She's speaking about her mother who was still in the hospital at the time of the recording. Since then, she has died.

Peggy Ramos:

My name is Peggy Ramos, and this is my COVID-19 story.

Nick Gosnell:

You, yourself haven't had COVID, but your family has been impacted quite a bit. So when did it all start for them?

Peggy Ramos:

I had a sister that had COVID and she was in the hospital for eight days, had the COVID pneumonia. She has since been good. She's still recovering. You don't just get over COVID very quickly. Most people don't. She still has a cough and she gets tired, but she is out and doing good. My stepfather, Bill Mason, many of you may know him. He's owned SDI for 40 years. He's big in the community. Lot of businessmen know him. But he started having symptoms Tuesday, October 6th. He tested positive on the seventh. On Sunday, October 11th, he was admitted to COVID ICU. Approximately about a week, he was intubated for about a week and, on October 21st, he passed away, which was 15 days after he started showing symptoms. He did have a few comorbidities, but what he had would not have shortened his life like COVID did.

Peggy Ramos:

He was 81. He could have very well lived five, 10 years, who knows. My mother, Judy Mason, many people know her. She had Judy School of Dance forever. She taught dance for 56 years. She was still teaching dance until she got COVID. She is very active, very giving to the community, loves everyone. She didn't test positive for COVID until Friday, October 14th. We therefore know she had to have gotten it from Bill, basically from the timeline. She did pretty good at home. She had a headache, sore throat. She was able to be there. My son is really sort of funny. My son built a four by six foot plexiglass barrier that we could sit outside and talk to her so she could sit on one side and we could talk her on the other side, especially with her husband that passed away on the 21st.

Peggy Ramos:

She wasn't admitted to the hospital until Friday, October 23rd. On Sunday, October 25th, she was moved to ICU. Last Wednesday, November 4th, she was sedated and has been intubated since and on a ventilator. She's not doing real good. There's been a few positive signs, but when you're intubated for that long, it is not good. They basically say after two weeks of being on a ventilator, they want to do a tracheotomy and send them to a long-term facility in Wichita right now. But the problem is there is no room at the long-term facilities. So there are five of us girls, and we may have to be making a very heart-wrenching decision in the next two to seven days.

Peggy Ramos:

We have no idea. But this disease is real. I also have two uncles. One uncle is in Wichita in ICU, another uncle, he got over COVID, didn't have very bad symptoms. Three weeks after he got over COVID, all of a sudden he's short of breath and put on oxygen and then ended up with viral pneumonia, if not COVID pneumonia. When you're recovering from COVID, you're susceptible to other germs. We had no idea and he's doing good, but his doctor has told him that it'll probably take him six months to get over all of this. He possibly may not have to be on oxygen the rest of his life.

Nick Gosnell:

What do you say to your siblings at this point?

Peggy Ramos:

It's very hard. We have one sister who had the COVID. Right now, mother is no longer in isolation because she's had COVID for so long, so she can have visitors. Since the one sister has had COVID, she has been able to go in and be with her during visiting hours. So there's two, there's another sister and I that lives here in Hutchinson. I'm sort of at high risk, diabetic and age, but the other sister is very high risk, liver transplant, so forth, and has had a TAVR, open-heart surgery. We can't chance going into the ICU with there being 15, I think I heard 15 other COVID patients in ICU. We have an envoy, but it still doesn't guarantee anything. We cry a lot. One of my sisters is also a medical malpractice attorney and she is the attorney basically for 3000 doctors all over the United States. She's sort of on a COVID team with all of these doctors. She has a lot of specialists and everything. So she's getting a report from our doctors, which by the way, Hutchinson has some absolutely wonderful pulmonologists. They are doing everything perfect. They are doing what every other hospital in the United States is doing. They treat their patients, I can't even go on about how wonderful they all are. But Julie is getting reports directly from the doctors and she has shared it with some of her doctor friends. So we get a report from her on what the medical side is with my mother. Then my other sister, we're getting reports from her on what she's visually seeing.

Peggy Ramos:

They do sedation vacations where they sort of take you a little bit out of sedation, basically to see how you're doing, the pain, if your brain is completely functioning, all of that. And Kathy's been able to tell us that, "She took my hand. She's shaking her head. She looks very peaceful. She's not in pain." Both reports are so important to all of us. When we get on group phone calls or Zooms, we are not very pretty when we're crying. Then you can't understand each other when everybody's crying and that's what's happening on most of our conversations. It's heartbreaking. Bill may not have been my father, but he was our dad. They were married for 41 years and we can't even have a funeral for him. If something happens to my mother, I don't know if we're going to be able to have a funeral for her.

Nick Gosnell:

Does having the one sister's experience as a medical malpractice attorney and the other sister's experience as a COVID patient give you any comfort at all as you make decisions?

Peggy Ramos:

It really does. The one thing that Julie has really stressed and we've learned from her, the people that will not wear a mask and say, "You're still going to get it. I'm not going to wear a mask. It's my constitutional right." All of it, everyone's heard every bit of it. The thing that masks do, you can still get COVID wearing a mask. The difference is the viral load. So by wearing a mask, you're going to get less viral load, which then therefore you have a greater chance of having not as bad a case of COVID. My sister that had COVID, she has health issues, and we firmly believe if she had not been wearing a mask, she may not be with us here today. My parents are older. That was the main thing going against them.

Peggy Ramos:

But my sister is in her low 60s, and it is so important. I just can't stress the mask. Then I've also heard one of the biggest things is the hand washing. How many people don't realize, keep washing those hands. Even if they're turning into sandpaper, wash your hands. Right now, I have a granddaughter that lives with us and she's in quarantine at a friend's house because she had been over there and the friend's mother possibly might have it, and she couldn't handle us getting it. So she packed up her clothes for 14 days, and it may be less because she may not have had it. I have other grandkids that live here in town that we're not seeing because their parents, they could not handle it, losing their two grandparents and then if something happened to us.

Nick Gosnell:

I'm sure the doctors and nurses have got to be getting tired after dealing with COVID for so long. Has your sister, as she's gone to visits, said anything about that?

Peggy Ramos:

Oh, they are extremely tired and they are very discouraged to keep seeing patients die and being so sick. One of our good friends, she happens to be a nurse that used to live here. She started a thing on Facebook where it was sort like feed the ICU and COVID unit staff. I need to do that again, but we were doing that. We were bringing in food from all over Hutch to feed the nurses, the staff. We heard that there's usually 10 to 12 nurses in the ICU and I think it's eight to 10 on the COVID unit. We were bringing cookies and pizza and Mexican food and Italian food and just whatever you could.

Peggy Ramos:

They were so appreciative because they do not get, at the very beginning, they were all getting praised for their work and they get nothing now and just see how horrible it is and the hours they work. It's depressing. All I can say is, please be careful. Our community needs to do something. I walk into a convenience shop and the people working there are not wearing masks. There are signs at the grocery stores, six signs, saying masks required and you see people walk around without a mask. It totally floors me that people don't understand this is a true, real virus, that if it doesn't kill you, it can also damage your lungs, your heart, your kidney for life. It isn't just the old, it has affected the young also.

Nick Gosnell:

Again, this interview was recorded with Peggy Mason on the 10th. She emailed me late on the 11th and said that her mom had passed. So two family members gone from that family as a result of COVID-19. If you have a COVID-19 story that you would like to share with us, feel free to email us at [email protected], and you just might be the subject of a future episode of COVID-19: My Story. I'm Nick Gosnell. Thanks for listening and continue to listen each week here on hutchpost.com and your favorite podcast app.