Ventilator Blues: An Interview with Sara C. Jacoby, A Covid-19 Positive Oklahoman
1:16 PM EDT on August 3, 2020
“We did everything we could…and we still got it.”
Those words from Oklahoma City resident Sara C. Jacoby struck a particular nerve with me. A self-avowed “over-masker,” around twenty-five days ago she was diagnosed with Covid-19, possibly from an area grocery store that, when she called to let them know, hung up on her. If this virus can attack someone like her, what chance do the rest of us have?
A politically-active stay-at-home mom with a young son and a younger daughter, since getting Covid-19 she said she feels like a “shit mom and a shit partner” that is becoming a regular fixture in the local emergency room as her oxygen levels drop dangerously low almost daily.
But, as she fights to breathe while in the worst state of her life, Jacoby has been posting constant messages about her fight with this virus on social media not just to remind herself that she’s still alive and kicking, but to provide ample warning to people about just how terrible living with this troubling virus is.
She spoke to me for a few minutes about her sickly struggle, one where a few minutes after we hung up, she was sent to the hospital once again.
Louis Fowler: You been rushed to the hospital numerous times over the past twenty or so days. How terrifying has it been since you learned you were positive for Covid-19?
Sara C. Jacoby: On day ten of this virus, I really thought I was dying. I thought that…this is not how I was supposed to go out. My mom died when I was nine…I don’t want to give my children that experience. But every time my oxygen levels get low, I have to go to the hospital.
When did you realize that you might have Covid-19?
People say this is the flu, but it’s not, at all. When I first started to feel sick, I was like “something’s different about this.” I thought at first it was allergies, but then a couple of days later my headache got so bad that I threw up so much it made my nose just bleed…I’m sure it traumatized my son to see that. It’s such a weird thing. I’m just not myself anymore.
I’ve never had a fever either…there’s a study that says that this virus is so sneaky that, for a lot of people, their bodies don’t recognize that they should be fighting this virus. Only one out of three people are presenting with fevers and I never had one…never.
What’s going on with your body currently and what are some of your biggest fears about this?
The doctors told me I need to call 911 every time my oxygen levels get below 80. When you go into the hospital these days, it’s like you’re a celebrity, you don’t even have to wait in the waiting room. They just take you back there…it’s not fun. But my biggest fear was my kids being exposed and now they have it; the doctors said they’re in a Covid household so we’re going to assume they’re positive. A swab test for five year olds, sticking something up their nose, just isn’t feasible.
They’re so young…how are they dealing with this?
My son Henry has had a fever off and on, off and on, while my daughter Maggie has had diarrhea—she has two rare chromosome depletions, she has autism and epilepsy. Out of the two of them, she’s the last person to have something stuck up her nose. She was the one we were trying to protect the most…and now she has it.
Governor Stitt has invested $2 million in hydroxychloroquine. Would you ever take this so-called miracle cure if it was offered to you?
You know, I would do anything at this point if it would make me feel just a little bit better. I feel so awful…I feel like a shell of myself. Not sleeping and not eating really takes a toll on the body.
What would you like people, especially the anti-maskers and those that think this is a hoax, to know about this virus?
It’s. Fucking. Real. It’s fucking real. I always wore a mask. It’s one of those things…when I went out, I sprayed down my cart, I wore a mask, I used lots of sanitizer…who knows if I touched something and someone before me had it, who knows if I walked through when someone sneezed or coughed, who knows?
This isn’t getting better yet. I’m hoping over the next week, it’ll get better, but if it doesn’t…I’m shaking so much, I’m so anxious. This is not me. This isn’t how I should go out…this isn’t how I should go out.