Loving a husband through COVID-19 — The journey to recovery

All Woman

LAST week we started sharing the amazing story of Kiva and Bradley James as their family journeyed through a frightening fight with COVID-19 in Florida. This week we continue the inspirational story of how Kiva helped Bradley to recover.

Herbal teas

In addition to medication and the oximeter, the Jamaican-born wife added potent herbal teas to her husband's healing arsenal. “I was steeping ginger, garlic, onion, mint for flavour, and mixing that with lemon and getting that in at least three times a day, which was the only thing he would consume, plus lots of water,” Kiva revealed. “Hydration is super important for the lungs. I also tried to give him broth and he would take a little bit of it,” she explained, noting that his sense of taste had diminished by then and his fever was spiking at night.

Going to the hospital or staying home?

By around day nine or 10, things had come to a head. “At this point, this is when people end up in the hospital and the reason is that your body can only fight an invader (virus) for so long. It requires a whole lot of energy, of resources, for your body to put up an optimum fight. It can do that for a certain amount of time. After you do that your body is going down and the virus starts to win. At that point, we started getting really scared because we realised he was not beating this. It was weakening him,” Kiva recollected.

But the loving, determined wife had prayer support and a plan. “Tons of prayer — everyone in Jamaica and here, because it got to the point where I had packed a bag for the emergency room. I talked to the children and I told them they may wake up and not see me or daddy so I would leave a note, and we discussed that.”

Of course in a situation like that it would be tricky to have someone come over to stay with the children when the family was battling COVID.

Kiva continued to put things in place for any eventuality. She continued checking her husband's blood pressure, his lungs, pulse oxygenation and recording them. But after around 10 days, the virus wasn't only taking a physical toll but an emotional toll on Bradley as well. He was so drained he wanted Kiva to decide if he should go to the ER.

“And I said we need to go. The bags are packed. But the look of defeat on his face — it was really hard. And I said he can't go into the hospital with this attitude and feeling like this,” the woman of faith insisted.

“I wasn't confident about what I was hearing about the hospitals and the stories about ventilators and how they do more damage to the lungs…It forces air into the lungs. In cases of pneumonia and COVID you are going to cause damage even if not leading to death, it is long term. But then you are between a rock and hard place,” the medical practitioner reasoned.

Plus she was no longer comfortable caring for him at home. “I had passed the point of feeling comfortable treating him at home and as much as we didn't want to go to the hospital I didn't think we had a choice.”

Telemedicine support

However, the couple came up with a compromise. Kiva would keep monitoring Bradley closely and then they would do a telemedicine consultation the next day. If the doctor insisted that they go to the ER, then they would go.

Armed with days of meticulous records of Bradley's heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and breathing metrics, Kiva was able to provide the doctor with useful data. The doctor was essentially trusting Kiva's ears and eyes in order to determine the way forward — hospital or home. Via telemedicine, the doctor prescribed a nebulizer and Prednisone for Kiva to treat her husband and if that worked they wouldn't need to go to the ER. Of course, with the support of her medical colleagues, Kiva had to figure out how to set up and use a nebulizer, which she did successfully.

Bradley starts to recover

After the first day of nebulizing, Bradley started to feel a little better. “By day two on the nebulizer he started playing cards with the kids. By day three he was looking better. Each day was appreciable improvement,” Kiva testified.

Of course in life-threatening situations like these family and friends have an abundance of advice. One of them was to put an onion under Bradley's shirt on his chest. Although not seeing the science behind it, Kiva acquiesced and placed an onion on his chest and elsewhere in the house, while administering the nebulizer and Prednisone. And over time the father of her three children steadily improved.

“It took a while for his strength to come back. He was still very weak even though his respiratory symptoms were better and now (August) he is fully recovered. He hasn't put on back the weight but that is intentional and his hair looks a little fuzzy which I think is long-term impact, but his lung capacity is back. He is back to running his seven miles,” Kiva said.

The good book asks the question — a wife of noble character who can find? Another version asks it this way — an excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?

Well, Bradley found Kiva.

Learn more about the exciting lessons Kiva learned on this unforgettable journey by visiting familyandfaithmagazine.com.

Shelly-Ann Harris is the author of several titles including her latest God's Woman. Connect with Shelly-Ann on Twitter @Harrisshellyann.

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