90-year-old Suzanne Hoylaerts hailed from Belgium. Like most older people, her immune system was weak. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been known to hit older people the worst.
In early March, Suzanne’s daughter Judith took her to see the doctor after she had been feeling sickly. A year earlier she had been hospitalised because she had pneumonia, her daughter was worried she might have that again. She had experienced a loss of appetite and was feeling short of breath but since she didn’t have a cough nor a fever no one even thought that she had contracted the coronavirus.
At her initial check-up the doctors found out her oxygen saturation was very low, they tested her for the coronavirus and she ended up testing positive.
Immediately afterwards, Judith was no longer allowed to meet with her mother to avoid spreading the virus to her too. Suzanne was now being treated in the emergency room alone.
She was told that she needed to be hooked on to respirators to get her oxygen levels up. Suzanne ended up refusing and told the doctors:
I don’t want to use artificial respiration. Save it for the younger patients. I’ve already had a good life.
Her family still doesn’t know how she contracted the virus. “She took the lockdown very seriously” they confirmed.
Her last words to her daughter were:
“You can’t cry. You did everything you could. I had a good life.”
Her daughter says that the hardest part about this whole experience was that she wasn’t able to be with her mother when she took her last breaths. She couldn’t say goodbye and now she doesn’t have a chance to attend her funeral either.
Even though we’re hearing every day about people dying from the virus, it’s usually followed by “Most of the deceased were very old people”. This doesn’t mean they weren’t an integral part of our lives too. Younger people are taking this virus lightly because they think “it’s going to be okay, it won’t kill me“. It might not, but you might become a carrier and infect someone that won’t have a strong enough immune system to fight it off.
Practice self-isolation and social distancing. If not for yourself than for your loved ones. You’d want to see hem survive this pandemic too. We all think “It won’t happen to us” but we can’t think like that right now. Now, it can be any one of us.