Ervin "Jock" Allen from Jasper, Alabama, had the most harrowing 32 days of his life, but he lived to tell the tale. Unfortunately, his mother didn't.
There are times when miracles come laced with tragedy. For one Alabama family, their heartbreak that could have been double was cut down in half, recently. Two family members were admitted to the hospital after testing positive for the virus, which has become a pandemic, but they lost only one of them. For a long time, it seemed that they would lose both but one of them was luckier than the other, although, the death of one's own mother can hardly be considered lucky.
28-year-old Ervin "Jock" Allen, lead technician at Steve Johnson Racing, from Jasper, Alabama was finally able to go home on June 10 after spending 32 days at the hospital. For almost three weeks, he was on a ventilator, and it seemed like he wouldn't be able to make it. In the end, he recovered and was able to breathe on his own. But, his homecoming was a mix of joy and grief, because his mother, Candace, had passed away while he was only a few rooms away from her in the hospital. And yet, she was surrounded by strangers while sighing her last breath. After all, her son was fighting his own fight.
A couple of days into May, his healthcare worker mother started showing symptoms of being positive to the virus. So, he took her to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital. Soon after getting admitted on May 3, Candace was put on a ventilator. Her worried son prayed for her but soon realized that he too had the symptoms, as per KCCI. On May 9, he was admitted to a Jasper hospital after testing positive. Soon, his condition worsened and he was transferred to UAB. He was only a few rooms away from his mother.
Meanwhile, his fiancé, Jaquis, his brother, Chancellor, and his sister, Angel, all tested positive. None of them had to be hospitalized and they were better soon with only mild symptoms showing. However, Ervin was then put on a ventilator. He was medically paralyzed for several days and was in shock early in his treatment, according to the Alabama Newscenter.
“Less than 10 percent of all patients who have to be put on a ventilator end up staying on it more than 21 days,” said James Stout, director of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety in UAB’s Special Care Unit, as per Alabama Newscenter. Ervin did the unthinkable and sat up in bed after 21 days. While his lifestream seemed to be returning, he learned that his mom had died on May 18 surrounded by ICU nurses as no family was near her.
"What we have seen here on UAB’s COVID-19 unit with Jock is an extremely well-educated super team inside the Medical Intensive Care Unit performing miracles. Then they transition the patient to us so we can help them wean off the ventilator. It’s an incredible achievement to see a patient who has fought for so long be able to leave here and go home and continue their recovery," said Stout.
While Ervin was in the hospital, his boss, with his permission, has been campaigning online and raised money for his treatment and a lot more. They have been documenting his recovery and his return home. After recovering, Ervin realized that he had been wrong about assuming that the infection affects only older adults.
“I was that guy who didn’t think I could get it this bad. I even told my boss when this first started happening that the people who were getting it bad were elderly people,” Ervin said. “I had no previous health problems. I don’t smoke. I have a drink maybe once a month. I was completely healthy. But I’m here. I’m young. And I just didn’t think young people can get it this bad, but you can. It’s very real and eye-opening."
"I don’t remember a lot of what happened while I was here, but I do know the staff at UAB took really good care of me,” he said. “I can remember being calmed down by a nurse when I was scared in the ICU a couple of times. Then they told me when I first got in (the special care unit) they were going to push me, so be ready. And they did. They always came by and checked on me. They were great," he said, appreciating the nursing community.
After returning home, Jasper welcomed him with a welcome home parade, but even as he celebrates with his family, he mourns his mother's death too. Candace's visitation took place at a funeral home in the city. Her son hopes to be able to be there for the funeral and there is a long way to recovery for him as he has to go through rehab and medical care as being on the ventilator took a toll on him.