Grandmother hospitalized for diabetes, contracts COVID

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(Courtesy photo)

By Kendra Pugh
Special to the AFRO

During the peak of the pandemic in January, Carolyn Thomas, 77, was hospitalized for a week diabetic complications at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md. Thomas’s doctors would test her for COVID-19 every day that she was there. 

Toward the end of her stay she tested positive. 

Thomas was in disbelief because she had no symptoms and was feeling perfectly fine. Thomas knew that this virus is fast-acting and could attack someone who claimed to be feeling perfectly fine and put them into the intensive care unit (ICU). 

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Four years ago, Thomas lost her husband of 54 years after a long battle with cancer. 

She wondered if this would be the time that she sees her husband. 

“I would do anything to be with him again,” said Thomas. 

After processing the news, she called up her four adult children to tell them about her positive test results. Thomas said her kids were very shocked about the news. Their immediate response was that she had to have contracted the virus from the hospital, considering Thomas didn’t have a positive test until her sixth day at the hospital.

When the pandemic began, disposable masks couldn’t meet the demand. 

Most healthcare workers had no choice but to reuse their disposable masks while treating other patients in rooms. Last March, a lot of Healthcare workers feared they could get patients sick. 

Thomas kept thinking about what her children said to her and wondered if that’s how she contracted the virus. Thomas was transferred to the Baltimore Convention Center to be treated for COVID-19. Early in the pandemic when the coronavirus was spreading, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the convention center a treating spot for patients with COVID-19. 

When Thomas arrived at the center, she noticed how sick the other patients were and she feared getting that sick. After being at the center for a couple of days, she noticed an older married couple that reminded her of herself and her late husband John. The couple were very sick and they were there two days before her. Thomas reminisced about her early years with her husband. 

Thomas, a Philadelphia native, packed up everything she could to move with her husband to Baltimore. A couple of months later they got married. 

“I miss his presence every day,” said Thomas.

In the first seven days out of her 14-day stay at the center, she wondered if she would soon be reunited with her late husband. 

She admitted that she didn’t want that to happen. But when you have been with someone for 54 years, said Thomas, you miss them dearly.

Thomas made a full recovery and so did the older couple she met at the center. 

I am also grateful that she made a full recovery, as Thomas is my grandmother. 

The writer is a multimedia journalism major at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication. 

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