PANDEMIC

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The pandemic began in early 2020. Well, at least that’s when I realized what was happening. At first, we lived life as usual. We all kept working. In fact, I think that is how he caught it. At that time, my youngest daughter was pregnant. My granddaughter was born on April 16, 2020. My daughter had to get surgery after labor due to complications. I was so overwhelmed that I paid little attention to my husband.

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In early June, my husband started to feel sick, but he never told me. I remember that I would come home from work and make dinner, [but] he told me that he didn't want to eat because the food was tasteless. He also began to get sick in his leg again, from the thrombosis. But I was consumed by work and the baby. 

 

I took him to the doctor. At first, they didn't test him [for COVID-19]. We returned around June 10 because he was still sick. It was then that the doctor told me that they were going to get him tested. By that time, my husband was feeling way worse. I told him that we should go to the hospital, but he didn't want to because he thought they wouldn't treat him properly due to the pandemic.

 

At that time, in June 2020, I knew almost nothing about COVID-19. In fact, I feel like I don't know much yet. My son suggested that my husband stay only in one room in the house, so we isolated him for a week. I started giving him things through the window that overlooks the patio.

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He passed away on June 17. It was Wednesday. On Friday the 12th, I removed the [temporary] door that we had put to isolate him. I put on a mask and gloves and went in to check on him. They told me that if he already had COVID, I could have caught it, but I could have caught it anyway. I checked his leg. It was super swollen from the knee down. I almost fainted. He no longer spoke to me; he just stared at me. We decided to take him to the hospital.

 

My son started looking for someone to take him [to the hospital]. The ambulance did not want to do it because it was not equipped to transport [COVID-19] patients. In the end, we took him in our taxi. By that time, the doctor who had treated him days earlier told me that he tested positive. They never gave me proof; he just told me. Either way, we went to the hospital. I'm going to regret taking him there my whole life because they no longer let me see him.

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Saturday morning was the last time I saw him, [and that was] because I forced myself [into the hospital]. I was desperate. Sometimes we didn’t hear from the doctors the whole day. He asked me to take him home, but they wouldn't let me take him out. He could no longer feel his leg. The doctor told me that they were going to amputate. I told him to do whatever it took to save him. Then the doctor caught COVID. 

 

Back then, I didn’t know anything about the infamous “[blood oxygen] saturation”. I only heard that people were saturating 50, 40, 60... On Sunday, I asked about it to one of the few nurses who gave us information, because the others practically shut the door in your face. He later told me: “Ma'am, I'm not going to deny it. Your husband is in very bad shape. Do you know how much he is saturating? From 30 to 40%". I now know that was very bad.

 

I spoke to my husband on the radio on Monday… I told him that I was not going anywhere. The hospital was guarded by the armed forces [and] they wouldn't let us near the door. We were sleeping on the street outside the hospital. 

 

On Tuesday, a doctor told me that my husband was in critical condition. He asked me why his leg had not been amputated. I got angry. I told him I was the wrong person to ask that [since] I had already given authorization for it to happen. They yelled at me that day around 3:00 a.m.: "Marco Antonio Díaz’s family!" I bolted from across the street. They wanted adult diapers, water, juice... 

 

On Wednesday morning they yelled at me again. It was the same doctor. He looked at us seriously. I felt a chill run through my body. He told me that my husband had passed away. My husband wanted to die at home, and I couldn’t take him with me.

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They wouldn't let me in the hospital when he passed away. I told them I was going to get in by force again, so the doctor agreed to let me see him through a window. They wanted him to go straight from there to the cemetery. The coffin was completely sealed.

 

 I managed to take the coffin home for a couple hours, but everyone wanted us to take him away because of the contagion. If that day there had been someone there to help me die, I think I would have taken the chance. If it is not for my mother, my brother, and my children, I would not have been able to make it.