COVID-19: My Dad was on a Ventilator for Months
On March 28th, Gisella picked up the phone to call her dad. It had been a few weeks since she had seen him, and as the phone continued to ring, she started to get worried.
“Finally, he picked up on the last ring,” she remembers. “He was breathless and wheezing after every word. I told him to rest and that I would call him back, but I was scared. Everything was shutting down because of COVID-19 and I started to worry that he had it.”
When she called him back later there was no answer. Gisella rushed to her father’s home and started banging on the door. When he opened the door, she was shocked.
“He was wheezing, and so pale and confused like he didn’t recognize me,” says Gisella. “I was wearing my mask and gloves. I asked him to put a mask on for me and filled out the online COVID-19 self-assessment test. It told me to call 911.”
The paramedics took Bruno to Humber River Hospital. Medical Imaging showed a lot of damage to his lungs. He was quickly deteriorating and that night, he was put on a ventilator in Humber’s Intensive Care Unit.
Bruno was given a negative pressure room, where air flows in from the hallway. This stops any virus particles inside the room from flowing out to other rooms or common spaces because of the direction the air is blowing.
“Humber has shown us they really understand how important it is for our family to connect with our dad,” says Gisella. “The first time his nurse Anna set up a video call for us, it was so emotional to see him.”
Even though he wasn’t awake, Gisella and her family were comforted at the thought that Bruno could hear their voices and words of encouragement. They developed a routine with his care team where his nurses would set up the video chat and leave the room so that they could have time alone with him, and one nurse JC started calling the family ahead of time, an extra step that made Bruno’s family feel extra cared for.
Gisella decided she wanted to give back to the Hospital, and has started Trash for Treasure – a fundraising campaign that involves her picking up garbage along the Humber Recreational Trail. In her first three weeks, Gisella raised $5,000 for the Humber Frontline Support Fund and had picked up 50 bags of garbage. And, when she learned that her gift was matched by the Krawczyk Family Foundation, she pledged to pick up another 50 bags.
“I am so grateful that so many people in my life have donated,” says Gisella, who has felt a strong connection to nature from a young age. “It means a lot to me that I have a way to give back to the Hospital and to the planet at the same time.”
At the end of May, after two months of being on a ventilator, Bruno was taken off his ventilator to breathe on his own. In the weeks since then, he has improved enough that Humber has moved him from the ICU to a regular inpatient room to continue his recovery.
“We have always said he is a fighter,” says Gisella. “He’s doing so much better but we are really looking forward to the day he gets to go home.”
Our current healthcare needs are rapidly changing. Donate to Humber’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, and help keep our Hospital ready for anything the coronavirus might bring.