NEW YORK DAILY NEWS MAR 27, 2020 11:44 AM
Can it come back?
That's the question hammering away in the back of my mind as my husband puts on his uniform and heads back to work as an FDNY paramedic this weekend — roughly 16 days after his first coronavirus symptoms and eight days after his positive COVID-19 test result came back.
He's headed back into the belly of the beast — EMS is routinely handling over 5,000 calls a day now — with a weakened immune system to fight an invisible foe. It shouldn't surprise me, since the FDNY apparently had few plans in place to handle their sick members.
It took 24 hours for a department doctor to call my husband and tell him to stay home when he first got sick. He was given no guidance about how or where to get a test."Call us when you have the results," the FDNY said.
A call to the state to arrange a test was returned five days later. By then, our personal doctor had taken care of it.
All the while, as I cared for our two kids at home and tried to keep them and myself healthy, I had to listen to my husband groaning in pain and watch, from 6 feet away, when he writhed in agony. For distraction, I edited stories for the Daily News about this devastating disease. Now, my FDNY EMS paramedic husband is headed back to the street, with a wing and a prayer that he is no longer carrying the virus we know so little about.
Even the classic symptoms you hear so much of didn't plague him — no shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Debilitating body aches, a 10-day fever and a lingering cough is just some of what he experienced. Is that it? Is he immune to this now? Or can he be infected again while on the front line — even if he does get the proper protection, which is in short supply for the city's EMS workers.
Will the city do anything for him, a 24-year veteran, if it does come back with a vengeance? I am not going to hold my breath.
Erika Martinez is an NYC tabloid war veteran with 20 plus years in the business. A former police reporter and tv news producer, Erika is a senior editor. She edits news stories for daily deadlines and is in charge of the Sunday paper. Covering and editing murder and mayhem is her forte, but she also enjoys writing about pop culture