Support from Afar
It was hard to not say goodbye to someone you love...
My name is Jhenny Carpio and I work for Lancaster General hospital. I've been a certified medical assistant since about 2007, so I have direct contact with patients. Throughout COVID, I work my whole entire time.
What I was going through made me think that can be my mom, that can be my dad, that can be my brother, that can be my sister. As drained as I was, we were pulling it through.
My entire family, they live in New York. They all got COVID. My mother, my dad, my aunt, my two sister and their husbands, and my niece and nephew, they had COVID. I was not able to go and see my family. I was able to help them fight the symptoms. It was very hard emotionally, physically, mentally, because I had to be here and work and be focused. My thoughts and everything else was with my family in New York.
My dad has a heart condition and he had bypass surgery two years ago. His health was going in decline. His oxygen, his blood pressure — it was a whole mess. With some of the knowledge that I have learned throughout the years, I was able to help my dad with his blood pressure, with his oxygen levels, and try to fight some of the symptoms that he had.
They were afraid to go to the hospitals because the hospitals were so overwhelmed. He actually refused to go in every single possible way. He knew if anything bad will happen to him, he was not going to be able to see his kids, my mom. My sister, she needed guidance no matter what time it was. She was able to hear those words of support even if it was 2:00 in the morning. Sometimes when she called me because she couldn’t breathe. I was able to say you have to take a deep breath, you need to relax. Sometimes we used to pray together and remember things.
I had two uncles. They died one after the other one. I was the support system for my aunt because he went to the hospital, there were no beds, they sent him home. One day she says “He's not doing well. He's fighting to breathe.” I said “You need to call 911.” They couldn't find a bed in a hospital in Queens, so he ended up in the Bronx. She was not able to see her husband. It was hard not to say a goodbye for someone you care and someone you love.
That affected the whole entire family — the mindset of everyone as well. He didn't have a funeral. There was no body for us to be able to grieve. My aunt did Mass on his name a month after he passed away. And I hope one day we all can be together, and he'll be able to smile like he always did.
I have learned to appreciate every single day. COVID has taught me to be compassionate, thoughtful, don't judge because they have COVID. There's a lot we can do without having contact with a person who is positive, but we have to be caring.
We cannot discriminate, no matter what color you are, no matter where you've come from. I've been here in the United States since I am 14. 30 years in the United States, and my accent hasn't gone away. We have to have a heart for others for the human being, because we don't know what can happen tomorrow. And maybe the people that you never thought you need, those are the ones who are going to give you a hand.