Thankful For Love, Great Nurses, And Remdesivir: A Front Line RN Recuperates From COVID-19
COVID-19 cases are at record highs across the country. And no one knows that more than the doctors, nurses, and other health care workers on the front lines. And many – like Tracy Arthur – have also become infected with the novel coronavirus. This story hits close to home for KLCC’s Brian Bull, who’s Arthur’s brother. He talked to her about her ordeal with COVID-19, which led to her hospitalization recently in a Texas hospital. Arthur described when she realized something wasn't quite right.
Tracy: The last time I worked was on Halloween night, and I picked up an extra shift. I was working, and I kind of felt run down, but I was working a lot. I believe that last week that I worked, I had something like 60 hours in. I was just overworked, maybe catching a mild cold. Going into the pandemic, I already knew that I was high risk. In the 19 years I’ve been a nurse, I’ve had pneumonia eight times (sniffs).
So anyways I was at work and I started having really sharp abdominal pains…that’s how it started with me. And just feeling run down. So I finished my shift and went to the ER. They COVID swabbed me, and I also got tested for Influenza A and B, and also for strep.
And they did a chest x-ray at the time. And my chest x-ray was clear, my strep was negative, my influenza A and B were negative. (Laughs) I didn’t really think I had COVID.
And a couple days later they called me with the results and I was shocked, I was really shocked that I had it.
Brian: When you were undergoing the worst of COVID, were you conscious and aware of your surroundings the entire time?
Tracy: I did lots of sleeping. Looking back that first week and a half, it was just a blur.
Brian: Were there sometimes dreams or hallucinations, or other surreal moments while you had COVID?
Tracy: I had one weird dream and that was it. I was kind of worried about that part. Because since the pandemic started, when I had gotten my first COVID patient, that was something that a lot of them had in common. They just had these really ghoulish nightmares, and a lot of times they couldn’t even tell if they were asleep or awake while they were having these nightmares and hallucinations. A lot of patients, I would just sit in their room with them because they were so frightened of these hallucinations and nightmares that they were having. I didn’t really experience that.
Brian: Just a weird dream. Do you remember anything about that dream?
Tracy: (laughs) Yes, in my dream, me and my youngest son, we were driving along in the mountains in a pickup truck, and we saw Bigfoot. He was just standing on the side of the road, watching us drive by. It was weird. (laughs, coughs)
Brian: At one point you were very upset when the hospital in Texas wanted to discharge you. Why were you upset?
Tracy: Yes, so I had just gotten my fourth dose of Remdisivir, so the day shift charge nurse came in and she told me that I was going to be discharged after my fourth dose. And I told her no, I said “the FDA recommends five doses.” And she said, “Well now they recommend four.” I’ve kept up on my treatment and the recommendations that the CDC puts forth.
I feel they were trying to discharge me because they needed that hospital bed. And I told her no, that I would not leave until I received my fifth dose, and I insisted on it.
So then they send a doctor to talk to me, he did confirm that the FDA does recommend five doses but it did get to a point where I had to call the patient care representative and voice my concerns. And I did get my fifth dose of Remdisivir.
Brian: Now having survived COVID-19, has this experience changed your outlook on life at all?
Tracy: Yes it has. I’m really anxious to get back home to my family. I really miss my kids and grandchildren. (coughs) It also really made me grateful for the good nurses that I had. Nurses that took care of me that were just outstanding nurses.
When I go back to work I need to maybe check on my patients a little more, make sure they’re comfortable. Make sure that they have stuff that they need. It just made me want to be a better nurse.
Thanks to everything that you and frontline health care workers have done during this pandemic. Be well, keep doing great work, and I love you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tracy:Aw, thank you too. I love you too, Brian. And happy Thanksgiving! (laughs)
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