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19 NOV 2021

Great Care Helped Her Survive Surge

Wendy Jackson is grateful she had such good care by her NorthBay medical teams and is back at work at Jackson Medical Supply.
Wendy Jackson is grateful she had such good care by her NorthBay medical teams and is back at work at Jackson Medical Supply.

Patient Thankful After COVID-19 Nightmare

“It was a nightmare, not nice. Definitely not something for the weak,” is how Wendy Jackson describes her battle with COVID-19. But, despite the harrowing experience, she expressed gratitude for the care she received from her entire NorthBay Healthcare team: from her primary care physician, to the emergency room team, her hospitalist and floor nurses and even the environmental services staff. “I’ll tell you, I got wonderful care. NorthBay is definitely on top of it,” she said.

In January, when Wendy fell ill, Solano County was experiencing a “super surge” of post-holiday cases, reaching record numbers of patients and filling the Intensive Care Unit, 2 North and the 1800 unit. The Pfizer vaccine had just recently become available to the public, but only for those over age 65.

Wendy, a former NorthBay Healthcare Foundation board member, is the owner of Jackson Medical Supply and had served as an ICU nurse before going into medical sales. “I knew it was a serious virus, so I was really excited when I got a call from NorthBay telling me I could make an appointment,” she recalled.

“In looking back, though, I think my situation was unusual,” she added. “I got the vaccine on Sunday and then started not feeling well on Tuesday. I’m pretty healthy, and at first wondered if it was just a side effect.”

Two of her staff members had just tested positive and Wendy realized that she had been exposed about five days before she received her vaccine.

She spent Wednesday in bed and by Thursday she was feeling much worse, with a high fever and difficulty breathing. She also lost her sense of taste, so she contacted her NorthBay Healthcare primary care physician, Stephen Newman, M.D., who recommended that she immediately get a COVID test. It came back positive, and Dr. Newman then advised Wendy to go straight to VacaValley Hospital’s Emergency Department, where she was diagnosed with viral and bacterial pneumonia in both lungs.

In the meantime, Dr. Newman was in contact with NorthBay’s infection prevention team. Her situation was unique in that she tested positive for COVID just days after receiving the vaccine, and her physicians recommended that she receive monoclonal antibodies and then recover at home.  

For those with mild to moderate COVID, monoclonal antibodies can be effective at decreasing hospitalization rates and progression to severe disease and death, according to Seth Kaufman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer/Chief Quality Officer.

By Friday, however, her condition had further worsened and she returned to VacaValley Hospital’s Emergency Department. She was then sent by ambulance to NorthBay Medical Center’s 1800 unit. She spent the next three days there.

“That Friday night was rough. I was so sick. It occurred to me that I could die from this. I had never felt like that before and I was scared. I got antibiotics and steroids for the pneumonia and after about 24 hours started to feel better.”

Wendy is grateful for the care she received at a time when NorthBay was caring for as many as 50 COVID patients.

“The staff was marvelous. The nurses were dressed in PPE that made them look like they were from outer space, but they were wonderful. How they can work through this, I don’t know.”

In retrospect, Wendy was amazed at how quickly COVID overtook her.

“I was exposed on a Thursday and a week later was deathly sick,” she marveled. “This virus is serious.”

It took about a month for her to gain back her strength, her ability to fully breathe, and her appetite, she recalled. On her doctor’s advice, she waited three months to get her second vaccine.

She is fully recovered now and glad to be able to share her story. “NorthBay really has this COVID care down. COVID is dangerous, and I encourage everyone to get the vaccine.”

 

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