Tuesday 25 January 2022

My first patient transfer from the edge of death from covid-19

A true personal story that reconfirms my decision to promote vaccination against the coronavirus

Paying the bills


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RICO’s DIGEST – At the risk of, once again, being called by the few that know me and many that do not, an enemy of anti-vaxxers for my pro-vax stand, of being paid off by big-pharma to promote vaccination and in complot with governments in their draconian measures to keep us safe, I have a story to tell you.

For those that know me, besides publishing QCR and my pizza stand at the Santa Ana feria every Sunday, I operate a VIP transport service. In the past year, since that activity resumed, I have been, literally, up and down the Pacific coast from one end of the country to the other and many points in between,

The photo is of a modern CCSS hospital unit. The Turrialba hospital is nothing like this, a medical unit is of 16 patients to a room with a small medical team. Depressing describes it mildly.

One of my ongoing gigs is medical transport, visitor patients discharged from hospital for their return home.

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In the last six months, the majority of the work has been with covid patients, visitors who got infected in the country, were hospitalized, recovered, and were able to get back home. There are patients who are too sick for my type of transport, require an ambulance to get them to the airport, and in a number of cases on a private plane or an air evac.

In these last six months I have seen various cases of the damage that covid can cause, their brush with a life-threatening disease in a foreign land, and their struggles, healthwise, to get back to living their lives.

The transfer this past weekend was impacting, the worst case of covid and survival I have seen first hand so far.

It all started with the arrival fo two medical escorts on Friday, a rare situation, an insurance company providing business class tickets for two (a third for the patient on the return flight), unlimited ground transport (me), and a nice place to stay.

In this case, the patient was hospitalized at the Caja hospital, the William Allen Taylor hospital in Turrialba.

The patient, a woman in her early 40s, obese, asthmatic, and other medical issues, had recovered from covid after a three-month stay in the hospital, of which 40 days were in an induced coma and intubated at the Hospital Mexico.

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On our visit, the medical escort team and I on Friday night, she was hooked up to an oxygen tank, her only way to be able to breathe due to lung damage caused by covid. This explained the need for two medical escorts, mainly each carrying a mobile oxygen unit required for the patient for transport, both by ground and air, for her trip to the United States.

On this occasion, on our more than three-hour ride from Turrialba center to the Juan Santamaria International or San Jose airport, there was ample time to recount her story, her ordeal after her first-ever visit to Costa Rica, as an unvaccinated tourist.

In her narration, she admitted to being “too stupid” not to have gotten vaccinated, convinced that covid was not real or at the very most nothing to worry about, as she continued on with her life (in the U.S.).

She said she did not get vaccinated due to peer pressure, anti-vax campaigns, among other things, but, importantly, she took responsibility for her “bad choice”.

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She was diagnosed with covid after a covid test required to taker her flight home. From there, her health deteriorated quickly and required hospitalization.

“If it wasn’t for my mother (who had been traveling with her and did not get infected) I wouldn’t be here. I stopped breathing, the doctors were ready to take me off the machines, but my mother insisted, pleaded with the doctors to give me a fighting chance.

“At one point I started breathing again, the doctors were able to get me back to here, where I am today,” the woman narrated.

Her mother, unfortunately, had to return home, “leaving her baby behind,” as she related, after being asked by doctors to prepare for the worst, including making arrangements to fly her body back home.

“I got vaccinated at the first chance I could, I told the doctors to vaccinate me,” she said, adding that she would be getting her second dose once she got home.

“I am urging everyone I know to get vaccinated,” she stressed. “This thing (covid) is for real, it can kill you, like it almost did me. I made it, but will have to probably have to live the rest of my life on an oxygen tank,” she related.

Of course, I have omitted from the story many details to protect the woman’s privacy and not to bore you with the workings of a Caja hospital, the waiting around for almost an hour on the doctor to sign the discharge papers while “he has breakfast”, which almost caused missing the mid-afternoon flight, and connections.

Or the constant clicking of the portable oxygen concentrator keeping her breathing, sitting in the back seat of my Sequoia for the transfer, and the alertness of the medical team when even the machine made a beep and her words, “this is what my life is now after covid”.

Before you jump on me this is all bull, it is not. It is real. It is my experience of only a couple of days ago, my first-hand encounter with a covid patient to the edge of death to have survived. The others to this point were all mild in comparison.

Got to go. Thanks for reading. Off to get my booster shot.




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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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