My husband died from coronavirus! I never thought that those words would be coming out of my mouth or that it would become a part of my story….but it has.
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 said that I was on my way…..
My husband, Pastor Ernest E. Slaughter, Sr. was first diagnosed with the virus on January 7th and even though he was prescribed medication from the doctor he wasn’t getting any better.
If I take you to the Emergency Room you have to promise me that you’re coming back home.
I took my husband to the ER on January 17th. Before we left home I asked him to promise me that he would come back home and he did, but God had other plans…. 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.
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.
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. Fluid was building up in his lungs. With tears running down my face, I went to look at him through the glass and I could 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 (my job is literally 5 minutes from the hospital) and within an hour his nurse was calling to tell me that they needed to put him on a ventilator. I immediately left work and as soon as I got to the lobby of the hospital the nurse was calling me again. I told him I was downstairs and with tears rolling down my face…. I ran for the elevator. I made it upstairs in enough time to hear him asking for me. Before I could go in his room they made me suit up, this time they doubled everything from the mask to the gloves. When he heard me walking into the room he gathered enough strength to turn and look at me. 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 everything was going to be okay.. They then made me step out of the room so they could prepare him for the ventilator. I went outside in the hallway to call my mother which took every bit of 5 minutes, and when I tried to go back in, they wouldn’t let me, I knew then…..
In that moment I felt my husband slipping away from me. In that moment I felt alone and lost. I went home, talked to the Lord and crawled in the bed. 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. She assured me that they had him comfortable and that she would call me if anything changed.
I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn’t. I tossed and turned and talked to God all night…and at 12:30 a.m. his nurse called with those words that are forever etched in my mind,” Mrs. Slaughter I’m sorry to inform you that Mr. Slaughter has passed.” I gasped and asked her where was he. She told me that he was still in his room waiting on me. I told her I was on my way…
COVID -19 has forever changed my life like many others. Back on November 28th, 2014 when I walked down the aisle to join in holy matrimony with Pastor Slaughter, you couldn’t of made me believe that we would only have 6 years together. Like all marriages we were faced with challenges, but we knew that no matter the storm, with God and a commitment to love and honor each other until death do us part…..that we would be okay.
The last words Pastor Slaughter said to me were,”I love you BB, it’s going to be okay.”
He never told me wrong, and I know eventually things will be okay, but they will never be the same.
The world is a better place because my beloved Pastor Slaughter lived!