The chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Brooklyn has revealed how she went from treating COVID-19 patients to becoming one of them herself – spending seven days in hospital after developing bilateral viral pneumonia in both of her lungs.
Claudia Garcenot spoke about her harrowing ordeal with New York magazine Friday, stating: ‘Before my hospitalization, I thought to myself: ‘This has to be the worst thing in the world’. But what I thought it was, was nothing compared to the reality of it’.
Garcenot, who is aged in her 60s, tested positive for the coronavirus late last month after feeling a tightness in her chest.
She told New York magazine that she spent a week isolated at home, before she eventually decided to head to the emergency department at Mount Sinai Brooklyn.
A chest X-ray revealed that Garcenot had developed bilateral viral pneumonia in both of her lungs – but she was still not admitted to the facility.
Claudia Garcenot (pictured) has revealed how she went from treating COVID-19 patients to becoming one of them herself in an interview with New York magazine
Garcenot works at Mount Sinai Brooklyn, which has been treating numerous COVID-19 patients
‘I went home for another two days and just didn’t feel any better. I started to have more symptoms. I started to get fevers. One minute, I would be fine, and the next minute, I would be burning up, ‘ she stated.
‘I also was getting headaches. Simple things like getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom would make me really short of breath.’
The chief nursing officer was eventually taken to Mount Sinai’s hospital in Manhattan, where she feared she would be intubated.
While she managed to avoid such a fate, Garcenot was placed in isolation in a negative-pressure room, where she claimed the combination of anxiety and loneliness was unbearable.
‘Someone would come in maybe eight times a day. I couldn’t really see what anybody looked like, everybody was completely gowned with a face mask, so most of the time when people would walk in, I didn’t know who they were or if I had met them before.’
Meanwhile, the experience was just as nerve-wracking for Garcenot’s loved ones, who were left in the outside world.
‘My mom is 89, and she was beside herself,’ the nurse told New York Magazine.
‘One day, I accidentally put my phone on silent and forgot to turn it on, and I didn’t call my mom or daughter for 24 hours. And when I finally realized it and called them, and their level of anxiety [was so high] — they were also feeling that isolation.’
Garcenot was treated with hydroxychloroquine for several days, before a doctor told her she would qualify for an experiential plasma treatment.
Feeling at rock-bottom, Garcenot agreed.
‘I had two units of plasma. Each unit took about two hours to infuse. It’s like a blood IV transfusion, but it’s plasma, so it’s just like the yellow part of the blood,’ she explained.
‘Forty-eight hours after that, I still had the tightness in my chest, but I didn’t really feel sick anymore.’
Garcenot was treated with hydroxychloroquine for several days, before a doctor told her she would qualify for an experiential plasma treatment. A Mount Sinai ambulance is pictured
Gracenot was hospitalized at Mount Sinai Manhattan (pictured)
Garcenot credits the treatment with helping her to recover from the coronavirus. She was eventually allowed to leave the hospital on April 9.
While she is still suffering from shortness of breath, returned to work on Thursday.
‘Sitting home, I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. It’s not like there’s nothing to do in the house. I mean, God knows I could clean a closet. But to me, that’s not meaningful work,’ she stated.
‘I’m ready to jump back in and work with my nursing staff and be there for those patients, because now I know the horror that they’re living.’