‘Please don’t take him away from me’

Special education teacher and her husband detail their experience with illness during the COVID-19 pandemic


Contributed by Taylor Reedy

Special education teacher Taylor Reedy got married to her husband in October of 2019. In late March, Reedy had fears of losing him due to his hospitalization amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My husband is 26 years old and quarantined to a hospital bed. Even if he wanted to go out, he can’t. His temperature spikes, he throws up, he can’t move or breathe. We got married in October. Please don’t take him away from me,” special education teacher Taylor Reedy tweeted on March 24.

Reedy and her husband Justin have recently experienced what it is like to have to be in the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering perspectives as both a loved one and a patient.

The couple’s experience began on March 18 when Justin started to show potential symptoms of the Coronavirus: a cough, fever and vomiting. After calling the doctor, they went to one of the drive-through test sites, and he was tested for the disease. The problems continued for the next few days. He was still coughing and throwing up despite the medication he was on. That’s when Reedy decided to call the hospital to see what could be done. 

“He was still throwing up even on two different types of medication that should have stopped the vomiting,” Reedy said.

This time, they were told to come into the hospital to be seen by an actual doctor. Reedy was not allowed to enter the hospital. After another COVID-19 test, they discovered the problem was double pneumonia, not the coronavirus. Justin was given medication and sent home on Wednesday, March 18. 

When they arrived home, Justin’s condition got much worse. He vomited for hours straight and could not keep anything down, including medication. Because of this, Reedy decided to take him to the emergency room that Sunday.

“That’s when I was admitted to the hospital,” Justin said. “Not knowing how long I was going to be there or how bad the situation was.”

Having to go to the hospital during a pandemic is different from normal times. Family and friends are not allowed in, so the only people inside the hospital are doctors, nurses and patients. Justin had to be admitted alone.

The situation became even worse on March 25 when Justin had to be sedated, put on a ventilator and still kept at the hospital. Since no visitors were allowed, Reedy had to talk to nurses on the phone about Justin’s status. 

After one day on the ventilator, they were able to administer steroids, and he was able to breathe on his own. Just two days later, Justin was released. 

During his hospital stay, Justin felt the effect of not being able to have any of his loved ones by his side. Reedy says that when Justin first came out of sedation, he was agitated, and the nurse had difficulty getting him to listen. The nurse then put Reedy on FaceTime with him to calm him down. 

“What really scared me was being alone and having no one to really comfort me,” Justin said.

Justin was not the only one who was worried, but Reedy’s fears were much different from his. She says she was afraid about the possibility of him dying. Although Justin is now home, Reedy says that fear has not completely left her. 

“I wake up throughout the night and put my hand on his chest to make sure he is still breathing,” Reedy said. 

Even though she did not like not being able to be by his side, Reedy says she understands why hospitals need to keep people isolated as much as possible. 

“I couldn’t do what they are doing every day,” Reedy said. “So, instead of fighting them on their decisions, I let the professionals do what they had to do.”

Reedy decided to implement rules similar to the ones hospitals have when Justin was first able to go back home. She says that his lungs were better but still not even close to normal. The most minor cold could have been detrimental to his health.

Because of his weakened immune system, she put their house on lock down. She says there were too many risks of someone else coming in contact with Justin and accidentally getting him sick again. Her policy was “If you don’t live with us, you don’t come in our house.”

Justin is now back home and recovering well. He says he has even been able to return to some normalcy and has made some changes in his lifestyle to better his health. 

“Now, weeks later, (I have) stopped vaping completely and (have started) getting myself back to normal,” Justin said. “I feel better than I have felt in a long time.”