Lisa Martin at first tested negative for COVID-19 in September, but she felt the result could not be right, she told ABC News. Her husband, Jeff Martin, a small business owner in southern Georgia, had contracted the virus, and she did not believe that she could have escaped it.
“My husband and I sleep in the same bed, sharing the same bathroom,” Martin said. “Every so often, I might pick up his toothbrush, and we’re just together all the time.”
Martin’s inclination turned out to be true when on Sept. 27 because began exhibiting severe symptoms of the virus. Breathing and coughing was painful, and she had a “raging” fever and chills. The only time she felt any sort of relief is when she was getting in and out of the shower, and in an attempt to break her fever she took a dip in her backyard pool — but it did not work.
“I said to my husband, you’ve got to take me to the doctor, or I’m going to die,” Martin said.
When Martin got to Memorial Satilla Health in Waycross, Georgia, she did not know it would be more than three months before she would go home again.
She was so ill that within 20 minutes she was getting fluids through an IV. After that, she “completely zoned out” for the next 90 days, she said. She was placed on a ventilator and later moved to Memorial Health in Savannah.
Martin had already been intubated for about a week when Dr. Roberto Lopez Vega, an internist at Memorial Satilla Health, first began to care for her. At the time, she was in need of a lot of oxygen — the highest the machine would go.
Lopez was worried about Martin’s prognosis. The longer someone is on a ventilator, the higher the chances something else could happen, such as kidney or liver failure, he said. When it was time to transfer Martin, she was so unstable that disconnecting her from one ventilator and hooking her up to another became too risky. They had to wait until she was stable and then eventually transferred her.