Harlingen family loses father, uncle to COVID-19

MGN Online

Janie Ruiz, 44, from Harlingen, was impacted tremendously by the pandemic.

Ruiz’s uncle passed away within two days from her father passing from COVID-19.

“My brother was positive and had left to Harlingen Medical. My parents were in quarantine and then showed up to get tested in San Benito and came out negative, a week after my brother went to HMC,” Ruiz said.

“A week after he got tested, on July 2nd, he was getting fevers and we went to urgent care and they told us he was covid positive,” she said.

Ruiz’s family called an ambulance to have her father picked up, but because the hospital did not have enough room for him he decided to stay at home. Soon after, her father felt worse and Ruiz’s family called again.

“They said well now too bad, now you are going to have to wait. They were kind of rude,” Ruiz said.

Two hours later, her dad called to get picked up and received a steroid shot.

Ruiz called Valley Baptist days later because her father kept feeling worse. Once again, he was picked up in an ambulance to head to the hospital.

“I called the emergency room and they told me he was doing okay and I thought everything was going to be okay,” she said.

“They called us to sign a form to put him in a ventilator and I didn’t understand how he got worse,” Ruiz said.

Every night she would call to ask about her father and suddenly one night, she was told her father had lost feeling in one leg. He had been in a coma for a while after entering the hospital for the last time. Ruiz remembers she started to cry on the phone and said the nurse told her she didn’t have time to hear her cry.

“I am just being honest with you, she told me,” she said.

Ruiz lost her father that week and never got his belongings back.

“They assured me they would call me back and I never got anything back,” she said.

Her entire family contracted COVID-19, which only made it harder for her to be with her loved ones. Her brother is still battling the disease and trying to recuperate from it.

“I had to be away from my husband and my kids and those two weeks, we lost power during the hurricane, I don’t know how I made it through,” Ruiz said.

“It was so hard. Not being able to hug my kids and my husband,” she said.

However, her family has learned to appreciate life.

“Never in a million years did I think my dad would pass away from Covid and my family would get it. We took a lot of stuff for granted and now we appreciate things,” Ruiz said.