Goodbye For Now - David Garcia's Covid-19 story
A Story of Inspiration & Resilience
On May 20th 2021, David Garcia was diagnosed with COVID-19. When he checked himself into Nicola Valley Hospital and Heath Centre on May 24th, he had no idea that this would be the last time he saw his son for 23 days. After cancer took the life of David Garcia’s wife in September of 2014, saying goodbye to his family meant so much more than it used to. To David and his son, the reality that tomorrow is promised to no one, and each goodbye could be the last, was very real.
When David first arrived to the hospital, he was feeling optimistic and thought that he would be able to return home after a few tests. As things took a turn for the worse, he soon realized that the nasal cannula supplying him oxygen was no longer a support but rather a necessity to survive. On May 26th, David went into respiratory arrest which resulted in him having to be rushed to the Royal Inland Hospital for complex care. By May 28th, he was on life support. David spent the next 6 days in an induced coma with a team of doctors and nurses in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) working tirelessly to stabilize his breathing and keep him alive. On June 4th, David awoke, exhausted, confused, and hooked up to every machine imaginable. He had two IV lines in his right forearm, a central line in his neck for feeding, a catheter, sensory pads covering his torso, and a ventilator mechanically breathing for him.
After 13 days of being on a ventilator, David’s life supporting lines and tubes were removed, and he was given the opportunity to take a breath on his own. He recalls, “It was shallow, but it was mine and mine alone. I felt a freedom that cannot be explained. It was like being born again, a pivotal moment of a second chance.” He felt as if he had been officially brought back to life. His road to recovery was lengthy but with the help of the incredible doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and respiratory therapists who stayed by his side, he was able to return home and embrace his son once again. Thanks to the life saving care he received at RIH, David’s goodbye to his son did not have to be eternal but rather a “goodbye for now” that he will never forget.
“Where would we be without the love of a nurse, without the care of a doctor, I know I wouldn’t even be here. I’d be in whatever afterlife there might be, wishing that I could have one more minute with my son. I thank each and every individual in that hospital, working through this pandemic. I thank you for not only saving my life, but for saving me from an eternity of guilt and loss. There is no other word that I know of that can explain what you mean to me other than…. HERO! You are my hero, my son’s hero, my family’s hero. You work a sometimes-thankless job and don’t get the credit you deserve, but you need to know that there are people out there that have their lives, thanks to you. Thank you for all that you have given me and continue to give me. Words just won’t do justice to the amount of gratitude I have for you, my heroes.” – David Garcia, Grateful Patient
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