Author: Rebekah Coulon
The End of Our Quarantine is the Beginning
I am a 37-year-old mom of three. All three of my children were born at Woman’s. My youngest child is 20 months old. She was tested for COVID-19 in the middle of March due to a 13 day period of running high fevers and a cough. So we did what most are doing and quarantined for the next 14 days as directed, cleaned several times a day and washed our hands numerous times.
However, at the end of our strict quarantine period I started with a dry cough. I really thought the cough was allergy related given all the pollen in our community.
“You are sick. We are going to get you better.”
COVID-19 and Ovarian Surgery
Sunday, March 29, 2020 things changed. My cough worsened, body aches arrived and I spiked a fever that evening. I reached out to my primary care provider – Amanda Moore, NP at OLOL Physician Group North Point Family Health via telehealth services, and based on symptoms decided I needed to be tested for the coronavirus.
I went that afternoon to a drive-thru testing site. The swab – not so fun… but necessary. My fevers continued to climb to a high of 104.7 despite fever reducing medications. The cough continued, eventually resulting in shortness of breath. My body aches were more localized to my lower back and lower left abdomen. The pain was intense and continued to worsen over the next two days. By Wednesday the shortness of breath was becoming bothersome – I mean, who wouldn’t start panicking with all that’s on the news these last few months due to the coronavirus.
But the pain in my lower left belly continued to increase as well. My PCP ordered a CT scan of my abdomen because of the pain. She called me about 30 min after I left the imaging facility and told me I had a left ovarian mass or abscess. I needed to be admitted to the hospital, but we did not know where at that moment. Amanda decided to contact my OB/GYN physician at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare, Dr. Shawn Kleinpeter.
Dr. Kleinpeter called me personally to ask me some questions, ease my fears and answer questions I had too. It was decided I did need a hospital admission and it would be to Woman’s, but on their designated COVID-19 unit. I was instructed to call Dr. Kleinpeter upon my arrival to the hospital. First time for everything right?! He came out the main hospital entrance with a mask on his face. We were given instructions on how the admission process would work and where we needed to go next.
Very Different, and Comforting
They Greeted Me with Smiles Under Their Masks
We had to pull up to the Assessment Center Entrance. Several staff members were outside waiting on me. Things looked a lot different than when I had my baby there 20 months before. So very different. Everyone was gowned, gloved, hats, goggles or face shields and masks covering their faces making it hard to identify them and make a connection. But they each had on their hospital ID badges so I could see a face and name and they told me who they were. Their voices were so comforting. Even more things were different. I had to wear a mask. No one could come with me. Not anyone. However, I felt so bad at the time that all I really wanted was people who could help me. I was wheeled inside, asked a few questions and identified myself then they brought me to the COVID-19 unit.
The COVID-19 Unit at Woman’s
The COVID-19 unit looked much like the Labor & Delivery rooms and the High-Risk Unit rooms. The unit just had different equipment than what I remembered and of course the staff were dressed very differently.
I arrived to my room and was greeted by two nurses. I could tell they were smiling even under their masks and by the tone of their voices. They asked me general admission questions, started an IV and collected lab work. I cannot imagine being in all that gear and taking care of someone for hours. I’m sure it had to be hot!
I remember apologizing to one of the nurses admitting me. She placed her hand on my arm and told me, “Oh my goodness do not apologize. You are sick. We are going to get you better.” I knew I was sent to Woman’s for a reason beyond my control but it was so comforting to know she genuinely cared for me and how I felt.
Resting and Recovering
That evening I had more tests performed. During the ultrasound performed in my room, I heard a familiar voice from the doorway. “Bekah, it’s Ken.” I began to sob, the voice was of the nurse who took care of me 20 months ago when I had my most recent baby, Abigail. It was beyond comforting to hear a voice I knew! I spent the night in the COVID-19 unit. Nurses from all over the hospital were trained to take care of patients on this unit. My nurse Kaisha was compassionate, caring and confident in the care she provided.
My COVID-19 test results came back and were negative! Thursday afternoon the decision was made to move me from the COVID-19 floor to the 5th floor to continue my care. I would still have to wear a mask any time a team member came in my room but I could now have a family member come see if needed/wanted. I continued with fevers but as the fevers came down the cough slowly dissipated too. Due to the situation in our community and having three children at home, we decided as a family it was best to limit contact while I was in the hospital. My husband visited me on Sunday afternoon and then came for surgery. My sister stayed with me during my post-op days for extra help.
But honestly the “lack” of visitors at the hospital was a blessing. I spent a lot of time resting and recovering rather than the typical in out visitors and feelings that you have to entertain your hospital guests.
They Made a Difference in My Outcome
I spent the next 3-4 days getting IV antibiotics and experiencing excruciating abdominal pain at times. I pressed the call light so many times over those days and nights, but the staff always greeted me with compassion and concern for the complaints I had and tried their best each time to meet my needs. Margaret and Carley greeted me with smiles under their masks and voices of concern. Ms. Rose, a nursing assistant helped me shower, sat and talked with me, shared stories when I wanted to etc. Each and every one of them impacted my life in some way. They made a difference in my outcome!
On Monday, April, I went to surgery. I was diagnosed with a tubo-ovarian abscess. The abscess had damaged my left ovary and tube, uterus, right tube, very small part of my colon, abdominal wall and my bladder.
I spent a total of 10 days in the hospital. Based on discussions with my physicians, thoughts are that I may have had the COVID-19 virus and that’s why the abscess was so bad. Those 10 days were long and hard but I was so thankful to have spent my days/nights at Woman’s. There is no place like Woman’s. I was treated with the highest care from every discipline of their care team.