Jaclyn's Story

COVID-19: A nurse’s struggle to survive

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Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Jaclyn was rushed into VGH’s ICU. Severely sick with COVID-19 she needed expert medical care—and quickly.

Going dark

“I just remember being pushed into this isolation room and the door shuts,” says Jaclyn. “Before I knew it, there were about 20 faces outside this window staring at me with very concerned eyes. I was starting to realize how sick I was. I was absolutely terrified.”

Staff at VGH including respiratory therapists, nurses and doctors all cared for Jaclyn. Her oxygen levels were dangerously low—an indication of her failing lungs.

Treatment started with oxygen on the face. That wasn’t enough. She was given pressurized oxygen. That wasn’t enough.

“In Jaclyn’s case it became clear she had to be put on life support,” says Dr. Vu.

Life support meant putting Jaclyn into a coma so that a ventilator could be used to take over the function of her lungs. This would give her body a chance to rest and recover, as the body no longer needs to use its respiratory muscles.

Jaclyn was shocked and uncertain. She didn’t want to be placed into a medical coma. As a nurse she knew all the complications and complex recovery that extended time on a ventilator could bring. Yet it was the only option left.

And so, despite her fears, Jaclyn agreed. The team put her under. Her world went dark.

“That was pretty much the scariest moment of my life,” says Kirk.

Finding hope

 

Forever grateful

Jaclyn soon returned home to her family, yet her experience has forever changed her life.

She is now a study participant in a post-COVID recovery clinic, helping researchers further understand the long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on patients who have been hospitalized from this disease. She also recently changed positions at work and is now a Clinical Nurse Specialist working for the Post-COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network, which helps achieve the best possible outcomes for people who have experienced serious cases of COVID-19.

“I think that we’re exceptionally lucky to have caring medical staff like we do at VGH,” says Kirk. “To the staff at VGH, I only have a big thank you. That is it. The biggest thank you ever.”

COVID-19 nearly took Jaclyn’s life. She is alive today thanks to the health care staff at VGH—the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and more.

“I’m sharing my story hoping that people can see this is a facility worth giving to. This is a facility that supports their staff, and cares about their patients and families,” says Jaclyn. “I want to tell every single staff member you are doing hard work. You are making a difference. And you are the reason why I’m here today.”

Donations to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation support the health care professionals who cared for Jaclyn and many more patients who use our services from across British Columbia.