On March 22, 2020, my husband was the first patient in Piedmont Newnan Hospital to die of COVID-19, and the 26th in the state of Georgia.
I will never forget that day. Bill received the best possible care from the ICU staff and Emergency Department personnel. He was on a ventilator for 10 days, and I never saw or talked with him again until the caring staff removed him from the ventilator.
Because of my high blood pressure and kidney disease, I am at a higher risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19, so I never got to say goodbye. I was forced to spend the remainder of 2020 quarantined at home, missing my grandchildren’s birthdays, church services and family holidays. Being isolated from my family and friends was very difficult, and with Bill now gone, the loneliness was overwhelming.
Unfortunately, my story is not unique, and many have had similar COVID-19 experiences. In February, I was fortunate to receive my second dose of the vaccine. I am so thankful for the rapid development of this vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine has been a life changer for me and my family. My life will never be the same, but it has made it possible for me to hug family and be with friends.
An immense amount of research and science went into producing these vaccines and the treatments that cured my stepson’s COVID-19 when he was hospitalized. In the future I know more illnesses, possibly even my high blood pressure and kidney disease, could be solved. It’s exciting to think about the next cure that American biopharmaceutical companies will discover.
I want to especially thank Congressman Ferguson who has always had time to listen to me and has a heart for high quality health care for his constituents. I urge all our representatives to support legislation that makes it easier for biopharmaceutical companies to continue to innovate.
Paula L. Ercolini