Behind the scenes on the Sparrow Covid ward: ‘I thought I was going to die’


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The question was did you think you were going to die.

The answer was yes. Judy Beebe is still alive today, but last week, the 75-year-old wasn’t sure she would be.

Beebe went to the hospital last week after needing to get treated for a hernia and what she found out was much worse. She was Covid positive and instead of going home, she’s spent the last 10 days of her life off and on a ventilator and oxygen.

“Horrible at first,” Beebe said of her experienec with Covid. “I lost my appetite, I didn’t feel like eating, the diarrhea was really bad.”

Beebe said her diagnosis has served as a wake up call to some of her family members.

“When Covid first started, my sons thought that the government was doing this and there wasn’t really any such thing,” Beebe said. “He called me last night and said ‘mom, covid is real’.”

Beebe had received her first dose of the vaccine in the weeks before her positive diagnosis, but didn’t have time to get her second dose. She says she will as soon as she can and reflected on her time in the hospital — specifically her first few days which were unquestionably the scariest.

“To find out I had covid, to get weaker and weaker and weaker,” she said. “That was (the scariest part).”

Beebe is one of dozens of patients the staff at sparrow rotates between serving. Those staff members are exhausted after working on the front lines for more than a year and said that some of the hardest times in the whole pandemic came just a few weeks ago.

“A day recently this month where we’ve had multiple patients have a code where they stop breathing or their heart stops beating in one 12 hour shift,” said Ameila Conklin, the manager of one of the Covid-19 wards at Sparrow. “When you have several patients that happens too, some we were able to get to the ICU, some that weren’t — it’s always so difficult but when you don’t even have time to mentally grasp what’s going on, that’s a real challenge.”

Beebe hopes to go home some time in the next week and gives credit to the staff and her faith for still being alive.

“It’s all hard, but the people that work here do a really good job and help you through it,” she said. “) God helps us through all the ups and downs in our life and that’s the truth.”

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