‘The feeling is helplessness’: Reporter cares for his mother in COVID-19 unit

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SAN ANTONIO (KDVR) — I never thought I’d be writing a story like this. But then, all of a sudden, I found myself looking at my mother through a window at a rehab facility in San Antonio, Texas.

When I got word that my mother had been diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, I quickly traveled from my home in Denver to help my family however possible.

Like so many families and loved ones, I was devastated. Not being able to hug her was excruciating.

After meeting several people and families impacted by COVID-19 over the last year-and-a-half, it’s now my turn to feel the pain and uncertainty in the days to come.

You just never know what will happen next

My mom is 83. Her name is Victoria. She battles both Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

To my surprise, I learned the facility was allowing one family member to stay with my mom. Many COVID-19 units prohibit visitors.

I grew nervous for my mom and me.

KDVR eporter Vicente Arenas and his mother, Victoria, who is suffering from a breakthrough case of COVID-19. (KDVR)

She contracted COVID-19 in a San Antonio facility while in rehab for a heart attack. She had been vaccinated.

My heart sunk when I got the news. I knew my mom needed help. She can barely talk and walk because of the debilitating diseases.

To get in her room, I had to wear head-to-toe personal protective equipment. It was as uncomfortable as many healthcare workers had described.

At one point, she developed a fever. A strong dose of antibiotics brought it down.

My family believes her vaccination is helping her so far. But with COVID-19, you just never know what will happen next. I’m cherishing every moment with her.

On day five of living with COVID-19, my mom seems to be getting better. She’s breathing fine.

We watch, we wait, we guard

My whole family is involved in her care. We keep track of her blood pressure and oxygen levels and temperature. Wearing a protective suit made it more challenging.

I admit I’m nervous and a bit scared. But mom needs help, so my sisters and I are stepping up to be by her side.

I wore the suit for 24 hours, with a few breaks to step outside for some fresh air. I find myself drenched with sweat.

KDVR reporter Vicente Arenas wears head-to-toe personal protective equipment while caring for his mother, who was diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

She needs help eating and drinking her thickened liquids.

My family and I do not know what will happen next. We watch, we wait, we guard. We are blessed to be able to be with her.

So many families did not have the opportunity to help their loved ones or even say goodbye. Our hearts hurt for them, too.

I’m telling this story in the hope of helping people understand what so many families are going through as we battle a new wave of breakthrough cases.

COVID-19 is still very much alive and threatening so many people.

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