FALL RIVER: Community comes together when one of their own is in need, and for Krista Blaikie Hughes she experienced that first-hand after her recent hospitalization due to COVI-19.
Last month, the Fall River mother of two was having what she thought was allergy-related symptoms. That turned into COVID-19 and a stay in hospital.
Blaikie Hughes said she was called by the virtual care team and sent a pulse oximetre to measure her oxygen stats. People are asked to login each day and insert their stats in the app. She got hers on a Monday night and they called her that night telling her they felt she should come in to the COVID unit for a couple days just to get her oxygen levels up.
“I never thought it would escalate to the point that it did,” she said.
Because she tested positive, that meant her family—her husband and two kids, and her mom who lives with them—all had to go into isolation.
She chuckles recalling some of the texts from her oldest daughter while in hospital—as she was sleeping.
“Are you dead?” asked one of the texts. “I know she was concerned. It’s just the way she had phrased it. I had to chuckle at it.”
Blaikie Hughes response. “No, I was napping. I’m awake now.”
While in hospital battling the deadly virus, the community she calls home stepped up to ensure her family was cared for allowing Blaikie Hughes to focus her energy on fighting the fight of her life.
“Early on, our neighbours stepped up and started delivering meals to them while I was in hospital,” said Blaikie Hughes. “There were care packages dropped for the kids. My kids love animals so the neighbourhood would bring their pets past our house to visit from the outside.”
Here is the full interview with Krista Blaikie Hughes, a COVID-19 survivor. Video editing by: Dagley Media
One of her daughters did test positive as well so she had to spend 10 days all by herself in her bedroom.
“She was able to look down from her bedroom window and see the pets,” she said.
But there was more—much more.
“One of our neighbours is an avid gardener but she took it upon herself to come and weed some of my flower beds.”
All of the support left her and her family thankful.
“It was really humbling to see the outpouring of support,” she said. “We don’t typical ask for help.
We know how to ask for help, but our neighbours really took it upon themselves.
“They seemed to know what we needed.”
Another neighbour came and mowed the family’s lawn.
Blaikie Hughes’ daughter Grace is in Grade three at Ash Lee Jefferson School. Her teacher coordinated for each student to write a letter to Grace.
“They decorated the envelopes, they wrote that they missed her and hoped her mom got better,” she said. “Tara, the teacher, delivered this bag of letters. For Grace, who hadn’t seen her class in over a month, she was so excited. You could see her light up. It meant a lot.”
For Sarah, her other daughter, they use more technology, so they have been checking in with her to see how she was doing and just talking.
“One of her friends made her an activity book,” said Blaikie Hughes. “It’s been amazing what the community has done.”
The church the family attends also delivered a care package for the whole family. In addition to that they had prayers from across the region, their own Atlantic prayer bubble of sorts.
Blaikie Hughes works for an international company and there have been well wishes sent to her from around the world.
“I never would have foreseen the outpouring of support,” she said. “It seems so small to say thank you. It just means so much.
“Knowing that home was well taken care of meant that I could just focus on what I needed to do in the hospital.”
Blaikie Hughes wants her story of contracting COVID-19 and her survival to show how serious Nova Scotians need to take the virus and public health measures and follow them.
“I firmly believe that everybody has a responsibility to help minimize the impact,” she said. “People have to realize no two cases of COVID are the same, and yes there will be mild cases but when they’re severe they can be very severe.
“If you could see what patients go through in the COVID unit and the ICU, I think it would really make them understand that it can be deadly and that we all need to do our part.”
In an update on May 24 on her Facebook page, Blaikie Hughes said her resting oxygen stats are back in the normal range. She’s walking everyday which is helping her oxygen not to dip as much with movement.
“I can now walk (more like plod along slowly) the loop of our street which is about 1.2 km.,” she said. “Stairs are still hard but get a bit easier every day. Fatigue and brain fog still persist but naps and good night sleeps help somewhat.”
Blaikie Hughes said the other thing people have to remember about recovering from COVID-19 is there’s no set timeline.
“In my case it seems slow, but it’s progress, and for that I’m grateful,” she said.