By Letter to the Editor on July 10, 2020.
It’s disheartening to see so many people not adhering to the AHS guidelines including mask wearing.
The following is from a nurse who works with ventilators. If you think wearing a mask is uncomfortable and humiliating, this information is for people who don’t understand what it means to be on a ventilator but want to take the chance to go out to a movie, have a drink in a bar, go to an arena or back to work.
For starters, it is not an oxygen mask that is put over the mouth while the patient comfortably lies down and reads journals. Ventilation for Covid-19 is a painful intubation that goes down your throat and stays there until you live or die. It is done with anesthesia for two or three weeks without moving, often upside down, with a tube deposited from your mouth up to the air pipes and allows you to breathe to the rhythm of the lung machine. The patient can’t talk or eat or do anything natural – the machine keeps you alive.
Discomfort and pain they feel from this mean that medical experts must administer sedatives and pain meds to ensure pipe tolerance as long as the machine is needed. It’s like being in an artificial coma.
After 20 days from this treatment, a young patient loses 40 per cent muscle mass and gets trauma in the mouth or voice cords, as well as possible lung or heart complications. It is for this reason that old or already weak people can’t stand treatment and die. They put a tube in your stomach, either through your nose or skin for liquid food, a sticky bag around your butt to collect diarrea, one to collect urine, an IV for liquids and meds … an A-line to monitor your blood pressure, teams of nurses, CRNA and MA to move your limbs every two hours and lie on a carpet circulating ice-cold liquid to help reduce your 104-degree temperature.
All of this while your loved ones cannot come to visit. You will be alone with your machine. Or your mother will. Or your father. Or your son or daughter. Or wife or husband. But … you think wearing a mask is uncomfortable and humiliating?