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Sun May 17, 2020, 04:53 PM

'I Wish I Could Do Something For You,' My Doctor Said

FB~

written by Mara Gay, published by The New York Times, 14 May 2020:

ĎI Wish I Could Do Something For You,í My Doctor Said

The day before I got sick, I ran three miles, walked 10 more, then raced up the stairs to my fifth-floor apartment as always, slinging laundry with me as I went.

The next day, April 17, I became one of the thousands of New Yorkers to fall ill with Covid-19. I havenít felt the same since.

If you live in New York City, you know what this virus can do. In just under two months, an estimated 24,000 New Yorkers have died. Thatís more than twice the number of people we lost to homicide over the past 20 years.

Now I worry for Americans elsewhere. When I see photographs of crowds packing into a newly reopened big-box store in Arkansas or scores of people jammed into a Colorado restaurant without masks, itís clear too many Americans still donít grasp the power of this disease.

The second day I was sick, I woke up to what felt like hot tar buried deep in my chest. I could not get a deep breath unless I was on all fours. Iím healthy. Iím a runner. Iím 33 years old.

In the emergency room an hour later, I sat on a hospital bed, alone and terrified, my finger hooked to a pulse-oxygen machine. To my right lay a man who could barely speak but coughed constantly. To my left was an older man who said that he had been sick for a month and had a pacemaker. He kept apologizing to the doctors for making so much trouble, and thanking them for taking such good care of him. I canít stop thinking about him even now.

Finally, Dr. Audrey Tan walked toward me, her kind eyes meeting mine from behind a mask, goggles and a face shield. ďAny asthma?Ē she asked. ďDo you smoke? Any pre-existing conditions?Ē ďNo, no, none,Ē I replied. Dr. Tan smiled, then shook her head, almost imperceptibly. ďI wish I could do something for you,Ē she said.

I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I canít walk more than a few blocks without stopping.

I want Americans to understand that this virus is making otherwise young, healthy people very, very sick. I want them to know, this is no flu.

Even healthy New Yorkers in their 20s have been hospitalized. At least 13 children in New York state have died from Covid-19, according to health department data. My friendís 29-year-old boyfriend was even sicker than I was and at one point could barely walk across their living room.

Maybe you donít live in a big city. Maybe you donít know anybody who is sick. Maybe you think we are crazy for living in New York. Thatís fine. You donít have to live like us or vote like us. But please learn from us. Please take this virus seriously.

When I was at my sickest, I could barely talk on the phone. Iíd like to say that I caught up on some reading, but I didnít. Iím a newswoman, but I couldnít look at the news.

Instead, I closed my eyes and saw myself running along the New York waterfront, healthy and whole, all 8.5 million of my neighbors by my side. I pictured myself doing the things I havenít gotten to do yet, like getting married, buying a house, becoming a mother, owning a dog.

I stared at the wall of photographs beside my living room window and promised the people in them over and over again that we would see each other soon.

I watched movies, dozens of them. I rediscovered ďAir Force OneĒ and fantasized about what it would be like if Harrison Ford were actually president right now. I stayed up late at night doing breathing exercises and streaming episodes of ďLongmire,Ē a show about a Wyoming sheriff in which the good guys always win.

One thing I learned is how startlingly little care or advice is available to the millions of Americans managing symptoms at home.

In Germany, the government sends teams of medical workers to do house calls. Here in the United States, where primary care is an afterthought, the only place most people suffering from Covid-19 can get in-person care is the emergency room. Thatís a real problem given that it is a disease that can lead to months of serious symptoms and turn from mild to deadly in a matter of hours.

The best care I received came from my friends. Fred, an emergency room resident treating patients at a New York hospital, called me on his bike ride to work, constantly checking in and asking about my symptoms. Chelsea, my college roommate and a physician assistant, has largely managed my recovery from pneumonia. Zoe, my childhood friend and a nurse, taught me how to use a pulse oximeter and later, the asthma inhaler I now use.

Through them, I became an amateur expert. This is the advice they gave me. Hereís what Iím telling my family and my friends: If you can, get an oximeter, a magical little device that measures your pulse and blood oxygen level from your fingertip. If you become sick and your oxygen dips below 95 or you have trouble breathing, go to the emergency room. Donít wait.

If you have chest symptoms, assume you may have pneumonia and call a doctor or go to the E.R. Sleep on your stomach, since much of your lungs is actually in your back. If your oxygen is stable, change positions every hour. Do breathing exercises, a lot of them.
The one that seemed to work best for me was pioneered by nurses in the British health system and shared by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

Nearly a month later, Iím still sleeping on my stomach and still canít go for a run. But I will be able to do those things, and much more. For now, every conversation with an old friend brings a new rush of love. Every sunny day feels like the first time I saw the ocean as a child and wanted to leap right in.

Many of my neighbors didnít make it. I know because I heard the ambulances come for them late at night. The reports from the cityís heroic E.M.T. force suggest that for many of these New Yorkers, it was already too late.

Why are more people dying of this disease in the United States than in anywhere else in the world? Because we live in a broken country, with a broken health care system. Because even though people of all races and backgrounds are suffering, the disease in the United States has hit black and brown and Indigenous people the hardest, and we are seen as expendable.

I wonder how many people have died not necessarily because of the virus but because this country failed them and left them to fend for themselves. That is the grief for me now, that is the guilt and the rage.

As I began to recover, others died.

There was Idris Bey, 60, a U.S. Marine and New York City Fire Department E.M.T. instructor who received a medal for his actions after the Sept. 11 attack. There was Rana Zoe Mungin, 30, a New York City social studies teacher whose family said she died after struggling to get care in Brooklyn. There was Valentina Blackhorse, 28, a beautiful young Arizona woman who dreamed of leading the Navajo Nation.

Theirs were the faces I saw when I lay on my stomach at night, laboring for every deep breath, praying for them and for me. Those are the Americans I think about every time I walk outside now in my tidy Brooklyn neighborhood, stepping slowly into the warming spring sun amid a crush of blooming lilacs and small children whizzing blissfully by on their scooters.

I hope the coronavirus never comes to your town. But if it does, I will pray for you, too.

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Arrow 50 replies Author Time Post
Reply 'I Wish I Could Do Something For You,' My Doctor Said (Original post)
babylonsister May 2020 OP
niyad May 2020 #1
MyOwnPeace May 2020 #2
diverdownjt May 2020 #25
saidsimplesimon May 2020 #50
FunkyLeprechaun May 2020 #42
Stuart G May 2020 #3
tblue37 May 2020 #6
Stuart G May 2020 #21
lunatica May 2020 #10
Upthevibe May 2020 #34
chia May 2020 #4
JudyM May 2020 #5
Upthevibe May 2020 #37
Karadeniz May 2020 #7
DeminPennswoods May 2020 #8
grantcart May 2020 #12
panader0 May 2020 #17
pangaia May 2020 #31
grantcart May 2020 #44
Upthevibe May 2020 #38
LiberalArkie May 2020 #14
DeminPennswoods May 2020 #29
babylonsister May 2020 #19
dhol82 May 2020 #28
Upthevibe May 2020 #39
Upthevibe May 2020 #35
oldsoftie May 2020 #47
Blue Owl May 2020 #9
Heartstrings May 2020 #11
dickthegrouch May 2020 #13
babylonsister May 2020 #18
Taraman May 2020 #15
Ligyron May 2020 #16
Upthevibe May 2020 #40
Ligyron May 2020 #49
Hermit-The-Prog May 2020 #20
I_UndergroundPanther May 2020 #26
Evolve Dammit May 2020 #22
Alex4Martinez May 2020 #23
ProfessorPlum May 2020 #43
warmfeet May 2020 #24
spanone May 2020 #27
crickets May 2020 #30
denbot May 2020 #32
Hugin May 2020 #33
Upthevibe May 2020 #36
PatrickforO May 2020 #41
llashram May 2020 #45
Mr. Ected May 2020 #46
cp May 2020 #48

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:01 PM

1. KNR

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:05 PM

2. GAWD-DAMN!

I SO wish there was a way to FORCE these f**king idiots to sit down a read/listen to (don't know how many of them CAN read) this - just HOLY S**T!

There truly are no words to explain the despair and agony for those that may suffer because of the "IDIOT-IN-CHARGE" and his followers.

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #2)

Sun May 17, 2020, 07:08 PM

25. Your title line is exactly how I feel....

I'm in tears from reading this one.

This is not the country I was born into in 1960.

The really high death rate we have here is solely the fault of FOX NEWS and the right wing scream machine...you know the culprits better than I.

Those mouth breathing COVIDIOTS need to be stopped...except(my karma gonna get me
for this one)maybe we should all stay home, and since they can't have their precious hair cut
when they want it, let them run around screaming on each other and let them die.

Could be the voter differential we need to win in Nov. OK Karma...you Bitch...come and get
me.

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Response to diverdownjt (Reply #25)

Mon May 18, 2020, 01:43 PM

50. Just my opinion, this is the time

I've been waiting for. There are more of US.
This is the DU member formerly known as saidsimplesimon.

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #2)

Mon May 18, 2020, 06:58 AM

42. I have a friend who's drank the RW kool aid so badly

She thinks itís a conspiracy and she wants to exercise her constitutional right to go out, go get her hair done etc. She has actually said that this happening was a ruse to get Trump to fail. Sheís even said this is basically the flu.

I donít comment on her posts but I do see them. I kind of reply to her posts in some ways, especially any news from Texas. I shared an article that showed Texasís, where my friend lives, Covid-19 cases were going up, two weeks after they reopened the state.

Iíve shared posts stating that ďCoronavirus doesnít give a crap what you thinkĒ and its implicitly aimed towards her.

I have other GOP Trump loving friends but Iíve only seen one spouting the RW BS on Coronavirus.

Iím sort of hoping those who donít really comment on it have changed their minds on Trump but Iím not so sure.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:06 PM

3. K & R...lucky she surivived, but Trump doesn't give a sh*t..Great Post Thank You..

Last edited Sun May 17, 2020, 06:44 PM - Edit history (1)

...corrected the word "she" for the wrong word "he"

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #3)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:14 PM

6. She. It's a woman. nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #6)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:43 PM

21. I apologize for not reading carefully. Yes the story is about a women, & I was wrong for saying "he"

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #3)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:56 PM

10. If you watch MSNBC you've seen her

She works on the editorial board in the New York Times and is a regular guest commentator.

https://www.nytimes.com/by/mara-gay

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Response to lunatica (Reply #10)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:52 PM

34. lunatica. Thanks for posting that thread

I recognized her (but not until you posted it and I had already read the article).

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:07 PM

4. So powerful.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:09 PM

5. This is excellent, ought to go viral.

Thanks for posting it, babylonsis!

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Response to JudyM (Reply #5)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:57 PM

37. JudyM....

It absolutely should go viral....

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:17 PM

7. Always liked her on MSNBC...she's back, albeit a bit wispy in the air dept sometimes.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:33 PM

8. I suspect ultimately it will turn out there is something

unique and specific to NYC that's lead to all the serious cases of cv19. Maybe it's the high population density, mabye they are daily being exposed to a higher load than elsewhere, maybe a slightly different strain, but something is definitely different.
This is the DU member formerly known as DeminPennswoods.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:04 PM

12. There is: High use of subways and buses and very few cars, along with elevators.


You could live in LA for 20 years and never get on a bus or subway and only go in an elevator three or four times a year.

One infected person in NY could infect 100 people a day for ten days travelling on the subway system while an infected person in LA might only infect a few or possibly none travelling on the 405 in their car and working in a stand alone office.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #12)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:32 PM

17. Very true and part of the reason that California has so many fewer cases than New York/

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Response to grantcart (Reply #12)

Sun May 17, 2020, 09:28 PM

31. There is high use of subway and buses in Seoul and Taipei and Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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Response to pangaia (Reply #31)

Mon May 18, 2020, 09:23 AM

44. Lol and your point is what exactly


I lived in Thailand for 20 years and Thailand just reported 3rd day of no transmissions. China has had 80 K cases vs our 90 K cases.

All of those countries including Vietnam had defacto martial law where curfews were in place and mass transit was largely shut down, universal use of masks and no one is riding elevators to work.

They also closed all meetings, including funerals. NY and CA largest superspreaders initially were at funerals but the secondary spread is at continued use of mass transit and elevators (in NY).

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Response to grantcart (Reply #12)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:00 PM

38. grantcart...

You make a very good part. As an Angelino, I can't remember the last time I've been on an elevator. I've lived here in L.A. for 30 years and have ridden the bus and the blue line(train) maybe a total of ten times.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:25 PM

14. A very high initial viral load.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Reply #14)

Sun May 17, 2020, 08:26 PM

29. That's what I think, but we shall see

nt
This is the DU member formerly known as DeminPennswoods.

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:35 PM

19. I imagine international travelers to NY might have

also contributed.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #19)

Sun May 17, 2020, 08:12 PM

28. And the fact that it was already here before anybody knew about it.

At this point the estimate is that 20% of the population has the antibodies.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #19)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:01 PM

39. babylonsister

Another good point....

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:53 PM

35. DeminPennswoods...

It really does seem like that.....

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Response to DeminPennswoods (Reply #8)

Mon May 18, 2020, 12:03 PM

47. Also probably a LOT more international people coming in on a daily basis.

This virus wont be good for pushing mass transit thats for sure

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:37 PM

9. K&R

Wow, what a story...

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 05:57 PM

11. Thank you for posting....

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:16 PM

13. Bless you Babylonsister

You're one of my favorite posters here.
So many have gone missing without trace. I'm very glad you're surviving and recovering.

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Response to dickthegrouch (Reply #13)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:33 PM

18. This isn't about me; I'm fine, thanks.

This is the story of a contributor to msnbc who got struck down by this insidious virus.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:25 PM

15. So sorry Mara had to go through this

and I'm glad she's alive.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:27 PM

16. Frightened the crap outta me!

That does it.

No more going out in public unless fully masked and otherwise protected, including goggles.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #16)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:19 PM

40. Ligyron...

It frightened the crap out of me too.... I'm in Los Angeles and my understanding is that Mayor Garcetti has mandated wearing masks, and I absolutely support him 100%! 45% of the cases in the whole state are right here in Los Angeles country. I only get out when I absolutely have to (groceries, every now and then for an errand that must be tended to, etc).

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Response to Upthevibe (Reply #40)

Mon May 18, 2020, 01:42 PM

49. My daughter and hubs live just across the border in Ventura.

She has a good gig selling certain medical devises and was driving all over the freakin' state but is just working in hubs Vet Clinic now pretty much. Doing as little of as possible of that travelling now and like everyone, hoping for the best.

What scared me in that article is: I'm a runner too but far from young like the author is. I'm 66 and kinda thought being in good shape maybe made one bulletproof.

Ahh, nope ...not anymore

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:42 PM

20. The healthcare system is broken by Republican design.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #20)

Sun May 17, 2020, 07:44 PM

26. This☝️

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:46 PM

22. Thank you. Very powerful. Now if it could get on right-wing media. It's coming their way.

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Response to Alex4Martinez (Reply #23)

Mon May 18, 2020, 07:13 AM

43. thank you

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 06:53 PM

24. We can chose.

Life, or death.

Decisions, decisions.

We can make it go away.

It will take resolve.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 07:46 PM

27. K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 08:35 PM

30. Wow. Sobering. K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:40 PM

32. Powerful. K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:46 PM

33. KnR

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:56 PM

36. babylonsister....

Thank you so much for posting this heart-wrenching but very necessary article. I wish people all over the county would read it...It's absolutely terrifying....

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2020, 03:45 AM

41. Thanks for posting. Very sobering.

We do live in a broken country with a broken healthcare system, a broken economy and a playing field that hasn't ever been level.
This is the DU member formerly known as PatrickforO.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2020, 11:34 AM

45. I am so sad

and confident your strength will bring you through this. And enraged as always that every word and syllable is correct in your analysis of why POC are dying at such a rate compared to the general population. Stay strong! Keep fighting, it is our only hope of defeating fascism, racism and sexism brought out into the mainstream by d. trump, his base and administration.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2020, 11:49 AM

46. I feel badly for the good people who trust their government and act accordingly

But at this point, after 3+ years of Trump in office, if you're believing everything you hear from the government, you aren't paying attention.

Under Trump, it's every man and woman for themselves. People need to use their cognitive processes to make these decisions, which are assuredly life or death by nature. Stay at home. Protect yourself. Do not let down your guard. And do not trust your neighbors' advice.

However, if you're a Trumper and you're squeezing yourself into a public place right now in defiance of Democratic officials that instruct otherwise, go stew in someone else's corona juices. A death bed awaits you.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2020, 01:16 PM

48. Powerful

Thank you for posting.
This is the DU member formerly known as cp.

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