Yoqomarie S Yoqomarie’s battle with COVID-19

I prayed and cried and prayed and cried, and finally took a turn for the better.

Yoqomarie Salmon was discharged from Saint Barnabas Medical Center after 17 days of an emotional, mental and physical battle with COVID-19. The otherwise healthy mother of four boys took all the recommended precautions to try and prevent getting the virus. A few days after her mother tested positive for COVID-19, Yoqomarie started coughing. She initially attributed the cough to seasonal allergies, until she felt herself burning up. Although Yoqomarie was unable to get an appointment for testing, she and her mother self-quarantined. A week later, during a follow-up appointment with their doctor through telemedicine, Yoqomarie noticed that her oxygen levels were at 85%. “My doctor told me to go to the emergency room immediately,” she recalled.

In pain and fighting to breathe, Yoqomarie was immediately triaged and hooked up to oxygen while her health care team ran some diagnostic testing. When she was unexpectedly admitted, her doctor confirmed that she tested positive for COVID-19, however she also learned that she had an infection in her blood. “My doctor told me that if I didn’t come to the hospital when I did, my heart could have been affected,” she said. “Whatever angel came in with me saved my life.”

Being in the hospital was not an easy adjustment for Yoqomarie, “I was worried about my family, especially my kids. I am all they have. I began thinking I need to fight for them. My mind was willing but my body felt otherwise. I prayed and cried and prayed and cried, and finally took a turn for the better.”

Every day, Yoqomarie would hear music playing overhead indicating that someone else has been discharged from the hospital. As she got stronger and stronger, she patiently awaited her turn. “Although my family was not able to visit me, I did not feel alone. The staff genuinely cared for me and made me feel loved,” she said. When her day finally came, the music played and the staff on 2400 saw her off with claps and cheers.

“I left Saint Barnabas refreshed and renewed, but how I got there was far from how I felt. I don’t look at life the same anymore,” Yoqomarie explained. “I used to take for granted having the ability to go to the store or step outside my house without the risk of contracting a debilitating virus. This experience was an eye-opener.”