On January 23rd at 12:30 in the morning I got the call that changed my life. “Mrs. Slaughter this is ___ from Baptist, I’m sorry to inform you that Mr. Slaughter has passed.” I gasped and told his nurse that I was on my way…..
My husband, Pastor Ernest E. Slaughter, Sr. was first diagnosed with the coronavirus on January 7th and even though he was prescribed medication from the doctor he wasn’t getting any better.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
He went to the ER on January 17th. After being admitted we found out that his oxygen level had dropped to 60. A healthy persons oxygen is usually around 95-100. This is known to happen in people with a severe case of the virus. They call it “silent hypoxia. “
The term silent comes from the fact that the patient does not appear to be short of breath. They are not gasping, they do not have an increase in their respiratory rate, and they are not complaining of feeling air hunger or looking uncomfortable.
Most individuals, when their oxygen levels start to drop into the eighties or lower, will feel air hunger and start to breathe more rapidly and feel uncomfortable.
He spent his first couple of days in the ER before being moved to ICU (we had to wait on a bed to open). The Doctor put him on Oxygen and started the “coronavirus cocktail” to help fight the virus. They wouldn’t let me stay with him, so I would go in the morning, during my lunch and evening to check on him. While in the ER they did allow me in his room as long as I “suited” up. That means N95 mask, face shield, gloves, and robe. I didn’t care as long as I was able to care for him. I would feed him ice and give him water because he was thirsty and FaceTime his kids so they could say hello.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever
By Wednesday he was being moved to the ICU and the visits became stricter. When I went to visit I wasn’t prepared for the new rules or what I saw. When I got to his room the nurse stopped me and said I couldn’t go in, I could only look at him through the glass door. He looked like he was suffering. I immediately began to cry. She expressed how sorry she was and I asked her to please tell him that I was there and that I loved him.
By Thursday he was awake and eating!!!!! I was excited! I called my mother and his family to share the good news. He even removed his oxygen mask for a minute to tell me that he loved me… That’s all I needed. I went home that night with the anticipation of bringing him home Monday.
That Friday I took his sister with me who works in the medical field. I thought it was going to be a “normal” visit. When we got upstairs the nurse said,”Mrs. Slaughter he’s deteriorating.” He showed his sister and I his lungs and they were cloudy. I went to look at him through the glass and you can see that he was struggling to breathe and his skin looked dark. My husband pulled together enough strength to gesture for us to leave…. I knew then….
I left and went back to work and within an hour the hospital was calling to tell me that he had taken a major turn for the worse and they had to place him on a ventilator. I immediately left work and as soon as I got to the lobby of the hospital they were calling me again. I told them I was downstairs and with tears rolling down my face…. I ran for the elevator. I made it upstairs in time to hear him calling my name. I won’t share everything he and I shared with each other in that moment ( some conversations should be sacred) but I will say as I wiped the tears from his eyes he told me it was going to be okay.. They made me step out as they put him to sleep and hooked him up to the ventilator. I went outside in the hallway to call my mother and when I tried to go back in, they wouldn’t let me. I knew then…..
That night at 8:45 p.m. I called to check on him and his nurse stated that his oxygen had dropped to 50 but that they had got it back up to 79. I knew then…
That night I was feeling a little bit better and tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t. I tossed and turned all night…and at 12:30 a.m.the hospital called and told me that my husband had died…
Things will never be the same, but the world is a better place because my beloved lived!