Faith, help from parish, strengthen family as its members recover from the COVID-19 virus
Friday, May. 22, 2020
LAYTON — At the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, some people were skeptical about the virus’ severity.
Mirna C., a St. Rose of Lima parishioner and a native of Mexico, was one of them.
Her last name is being withheld for privacy.
“I had no idea of [COVID-19]. I never thought that it could happen to us,” said Mirna, the mother of five children who range in age from 3 to 15.
Then coronavirus came into her life, and it remains to this day.
At the end of January, Mirna’s youngest child developed a fever and a dry cough. The doctor diagnosed a seasonal virus and said it would go away by itself.
Although her child got better, Mirna got laid off work due to the effects of the pandemic.
“That’s as much as I thought about the coronavirus – it took my job away and that’s it. ... But I was very wrong,” she said.
Mirna began searching for another job. Then she developed a constant headache, and her body started aching.
“A friend of mine told me I might have the coronavirus, but I ignored her, telling her I had just a virus and that I had to find a job,” Mirna said.
Her aches got worse, and when she took her temperature, she realized that she had a fever. Her car broke down, and although her friend suggested that she go to the doctor, with no transportation, no money and no health insurance, Mirna didn’t know what to do.
“My friend’s husband offered to take me to the clinic, so we went, but they didn’t take us in,” she said.
Instead, when they arrived at the clinic, she was given a mask, asked for her information, and told to wait in the car.
“By then I couldn’t feel anything due to the pain,” she said. “I even peed on myself. It was horrible. Hours passed until we got a phone call telling us we could go in.”
At her appointment, during which her friend’s husband translated for her, Mirna started vomiting.
“The doctor had a nurse gave me a test for flu, another for pneumonia and the coronavirus one. He prescribed some pain medication and another for the vomiting and sent us home,” Mirna said.
A day later, she got a call telling her she was negative for the coronavirus.
“I thought that was a relief, but I still didn’t feel well, and I started coughing more,” she said.
She started her search for jobs because now she knew she was going to also have to pay for the medical attentions she had received.
Then came another phone call. This time, a nurse told her she needed to quarantine because she was positive for COVID-19.
“I was shocked, since I had understood I did not have it. ... Now the nurse was asking me to quarantine myself, and she asked me to be away from my children,” Mirna said.
In her two-bedroom apartment, she put herself in one room, created a mask from a pair of underwear, and tried her best to be away from her children.
One night, she heard her children start screaming. She thought they were just having a fight, but when her daughter came into her room, saying that one of the others got burned trying to cook for himself, Mirna almost lost her composure.
“As hard as it was trying to not infect them, I had to be close to them,” she said. “I called my friend, and she helped me treat my kid, and created more masks for them to put on.”
While talking to the nurse about what had happened, Mirna was told to take the children to be tested for the virus. But with no car, and being infected herself, that seemed like an impossible task, Mirna said.
The nurse arranged to have the children tested at home. By then, Mirna’s quarantine was almost at an end.
Then her children’s tests came back positive.
“They tested all except the little one and all had it, so we had to start all over again,” Mirna said.
However, the children had only light symptoms.
“Thanks be to God, only my oldest developed a light cough,” Mirna said.
Throughout the whole ordeal, St. Rose of Lima parishioners supported the family by bringing food and other items to her home, she said.
“I got a call from the parish, telling me that they had left some items at my front door, and asking me what we needed,” Mirna said.
One St. Rose parishioner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that when she heard about Mirna’s situation, she just knew she had to do something.
“I donated as much as I could,” the anonymous parishioner said. “Her struggle was real, and what impressed me the most is knowing that she was not asking for the help that she urgently needed.”
Receiving all the donations reinforced Mirna’s belief that God had never left them.
“I kept on praying to him to not leave us alone,” she said. “I am a big believer of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I know that through her intercession we were going to come out of this.”
Although the family’s quarantine was over a few days ago, Mirna’s challenges kept increasing.
“One day when I went to wash our clothes – I had not been able to do laundry since we all were quarantine – one of my neighbors told me that I should be dead,” Mirna said.
His words “gave me more strength to fight back and look harder for a job and for a better life for my kids,” said Mirna, who is now searching for employment so that she can provide for her children, pay her rent and utilities, and figure out ways of paying the medical bills, too.
“With God by my side, I know we are not alone,” she said. “We are very grateful to all at St. Rose of Lima and to Fr. Clarence [Sandoval, the parish pastor] for keeping praying for us. Things will be better.”