Rolando L Angels Doing God's Work

They were so compassionate and attentive. They were angels doing God’s work.

Jersey City Councilman at Large, Recovered Covid-19 Patient

“At first, I had a fever, cough and sore throat. I was given an antibiotic for possible strep throat. Then I began to feel much, much worse—chills, body aches, loss of taste and smell, gastrointestinal issues and extreme fatigue. I was given a different antibiotic, but my fever just kept getting higher. I suspected COVID-19, and I was worried because I have underlying issues that could put me at greater risk. At that time, you couldn’t get the test unless you’d been out of the country within the past 14 days or had been exposed to a person known to have the virus, so my request was denied.

I tried to appeal the decision, but again was told no. Finally, after an appointment with a different doctor, I was cleared to go for a drive-through test. The results would take three to five days to come in. At that point, my symptoms were very bad. At my wife’s urging [Lavarro is married to RWJBarnabas Health employee Veronica Lavarro], I made an appointment to see Dr. Deval Gadhvi, who is a primary care doctor. Dr. Gadhvi arranged for me to go to an urgent care facility for X-rays and blood work.

There, they told me that my blood pressure and oxygen levels were alarmingly low, so low that I needed to go to the Emergency Department right away. That was a very hard time—going home to tell my wife and daughter that I had to go to the hospital. I drove myself because I didn’t want them to be exposed. To be honest, I was so miserable that I don’t remember a whole lot about those days in the hospital, except that the nursing care was amazing.

They were so compassionate and attentive. They were angels doing God’s work. I have two main takeaways from this. The first is that people have to really advocate for their health and keep trying to get answers. I give all credit to my wife for urging me to see Dr. Gadhvi, and I don’t like to think of what my condition might have been if I hadn’t done that. The second is that, as we reopen the economy, we can’t ease up on all those precautionary measures—wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands. The COVID-19 virus is still out there, and you need to practice self-care.”

Rolando Lavarro, Jersey City Councilman At-Large, Recovered COVID-19 Patient