Kim Bello is looking forward to the day that her husband, Jim, can come home from the hospital.
Jim is a 49-year-old COVID-19 patient from Hingham, and he’s currently in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s been there since March 13, and at one point it didn’t look like he was going to make it, according to his wife. But she says he is doing much better.
“He went from being so sick — on his deathbed — to turning a corner,” she said. “The nurses and doctors at MGH saved his life."
To show their appreciation, the Bello family started a GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/frontlines19) to raise money for employees of the hospital and the medical team that has been caring for Jim.
“We are extremely grateful to his medical team, which we refer to as ‘The Angels,'" the GoFundMe page states. “Every day, they leave their own families and put their lives at risk to save the lives of others. In grateful appreciation, we would like to raise money to support these Frontline Workers in meaningful ways.....It’s the least we can do for all they have done for Jim.”
Kim said her husband first showed signs of the illness when he got a fever. His temperature of 103 degrees lasted for a few days, so he went to South Shore Hospital and got checked out. At the time, he didn’t qualify to be tested for COVID-19, she said. The hospital staff took X-rays, prescribed him an antibiotic, and sent him home. But by the next day, Jim was feeling even worse, and he was having trouble breathing. He went back to the hospital and was given a nebulizer and was tested for COVID-19, and then was sent home again.
But he wasn’t getting better. When Jim returned to South Shore Hospital for the third time, he went to the emergency room with a severe headache. He had to be intubated and was ultimately transferred to MGH, where he was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which acts as an artificial lung.
Kim said he was finally taken off the ECMO machine this past Saturday. He is now on a ventilator, and his lungs are looking better, she said.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” she said. “But he’s out of the woods. Every day he’s getting better.”
She said it’s hard to fathom that her husband hasn’t been able to speak to her since March 13. They have been together for 22 years and have three children.
“It’s the unthinkable,” she said.
Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.