The Unexpected Present

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Who, What, Why Is This Happening?

Air Guitar Wedding

We both got the Pfizer shots on the same day. Yuri did not feel right after the first shot, on March 8, but we went ahead and took the second, on March 29. Why? Because we thought we were doing the right thing as citizens. The year of Covid-19 lock-down decimated all of our business. We had friends who got sick, some died.

A week later he was in the first hospital with double pneumonia. And sepsis. The doctors misdiagnosed him with kidney failure, heart failure and lung disease. No answers why his lungs looked like the pictures of Covid web. Yuri was tested for Covid many times. Negative. No explanations. He was discharged on Monday, April 12 and sent home with an oxygen tank. Two days later we went to a cardiologist appointment. We were told he was progressing nicely towards recovery.

Four days later, Yuri’s oxygen blood level inexplicably dips to 71. His hands and fingers are cold. Call 911. No time to return to Newton, the oxygen C-PAC lasts 20 minutes. EMTs suggest Bon Secours, a fifteen-minute ride rather than forty minutes. It’s the right move. But the ER Doctor is animated, “How could he be discharged?” His lungs have a bleed, his vitals are erratic. After seven hours, his blood oxygen climbs back to 100%. They admit him, but there are no beds available on the regular floor due to the COVID spike. Lucky for Yuri they put him into the ICU.

The next day, I get a call the hospital. Yuri is intubated. He’s not doing well– vitals going crazy, respiratory failure, kidney failure, heart failure. He’s fighting the ventilator. They must sedate him. I watch as they suction out the blood from his lungs, blood thickened-like granules. His hemoglobin drops to 6.5 and he needs blood transfusions. The doctor allows me to stay as long as I want because they don’t think he’ll make it through the night.

It’s COVID, they say. Test after test– negative. The Infectious Disease doctor talks to me extensively. We’re both fully vaccinated, having been very careful all year not to get Covid. Yuri has one kidney. Neither one wants to take the chance after seeing and hearing about what it does to the lungs, heart, and whatever else it might attack and destroy. We are not anti-vaxxers. We believe in public health and we should be responsible for our health as best as we can surviving in the American health system which has not always been easy. It was hard to get an appointment.

But Yuri did not feel right after the first shot on March 8. He mentioned the breathing difficulties. A blood test on March 23 showed his hemoglobin at 13.6, but he still felt tired, weak feeling out of breath just coming up the stairs. We tried to schedule an iron infusion, but could not get an appointment.

On March 29 despite reservations and telling medical professionals how Yuri was feeling, we both had the second shot. A week later Yuri is in the hospital with double pneumonia, diagnosed with heart failure, lung disease, and kidney failure. Timeline suspiciously points to the Pfizer vaccine. This is not good.

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