Friday night was endless for Dr. Marty Becker, as his mother-in-law, Valdie Burkholder, and brother-in-law, Rockey, both at high risk due to age and underlying medical conditions, fight COVID-19. The hospital discharged Rockey Burkholder, only to have him go back by ambulance five hours later in extreme respiratory distress.
At about 2 a.m. both Rockey and Valdie Burkholder were sick. Rockey didn’t make it to the bathroom. The vomiting exacerbated his breathing difficulties and he became very cyanotic, turning blue from the lack of oxygen.
“His breathing, to a veterinarian, was bordering on agonal, what you see before death,” he posted to Facebook later in the day. “I got Valdie back in bed and she asked, a) who was in the kitchen talking (it was the EMTs), and b) she couldn’t remember where she put the ham she bought for Teresa & I (also bought one for Jim & Ruth).”
Valdie got up twice more to go to the bathroom. The phone rang about 4 and 5 a.m. No, it wasn’t the hospital but those &!%#* telemarketers. I needed my mouth washed out with soap after I hung up, I was so upset about weakened Valdie being awakened.
About 6 a.m., Rockey was transported by ambulance to Bonner General Hospital to the COVID quarantine unit in serious condition. With Rockey’s age and underlying health issues, the prognosis is poor.
“I don’t post this for you to admire or feel sorry for me,” Marty wrote. I post because:
- “I want to put a human face on COVID. It’s not a fake disease in ‘other places.’ Its a deadly serious disease in your neighborhood.
- “To serve as a warning to take the precautions from the medical professionals. You’re not just
protecting yourself and your family and friends. You’re protecting young and old alike, the Valdies and Rockeys who live on your street, on your road, in your apartment complex, in your town.
- “Rockey loves attention (as you all know) and it really cheers him up to read your comments.
- “We could all feel your prayers. Valdie mentioned it several times as did Teresa.
“As a family of faith and with a medical background, these could very well be Valdie & Rockey’s very last days on earth. We fought to protect them from COVID, knowing that contracting it most likely would mark the last chapter in their life books.
“Don’t take this wrong, but if one goes, we pray the other will too. Rockey has been hooked to his mom’s hip for 72-years; Valdie was gifted by having a son who never grew up, who adores his mother and who still views her much younger than her 95-years. We don’t know God’s plans, but I hope it’s not ’till death do us part.’ Be together in death like you were in life. Still praying for a miracle.”
Dr. Becker expressed his sincere thanks for the Boundary Ambulance EMTs, saying they are nothing short of amazing.
“Competent, confident, warm and friendly,” he wrote. “Thank you.”