BCHD trustee Poster, husband and 93-year-old dad battle COVID-19
Vanessa Poster, who was recently elected to her sixth four-year term on the Beach Cities Health District board, has been meticulous about avoiding COVID-19. Her father David, who is 93, lives with her and her husband Johnny in Redondo Beach.
“We’ve been in a bubble,” Poster said over the phone, several days after contracting the novel coronavirus. “But our bubble contains caregivers.”
One of her father’s caregivers became infected after contact with someone who had attended a Halloween party where people weren’t wearing masks. When Poster heard about the caregiver testing positive for COVID-19, she began monitoring her father’s oxygen levels with an oximeter purchased for $20 on Amazon. When the levels dropped, she called his doctor.
“My dad was like I’m fine, I don’t want to go to the hospital, I’m fine,” Poster said. “The doctor said, bring him to the emergency room right now. That’s probably why a lot of people are dying, because they feel fine, and then their oxygen drops.”
Her father was hospitalized on Nov. 14, roughly eight weeks after being hospitalized for breaking seven ribs. For Poster, the hardest part was not being able to comfort him in his hospital bed, the way she had comforted her first husband, who died several years ago, after nine months of cancer treatment.
Four days later, her father was well enough to return home on oxygen. Poster believes his salvation was the breathing exercises he had been doing to recover from his rib injuries.
She sealed off the home and adopted the motto “Covid stops with me,” which meant becoming her father’s round-the-clock caregiver. Soon her husband, who has pre-existing medical conditions, became sick, and then she did, too.
Poster, who was weak and sick when she spoke to Easy Reader, said she wanted to publicize her experience so others might learn from it. She also posted about her family’s illnesses on Facebook, offering her advice: Get an oximeter because a negative test isn’t the whole story. (Poster tested negative after she began showing symptoms of the virus.) Drink fluids with electrolytes, such as coconut water and Gatorade. Exercise and do breathing exercises, such as yoga.
“Get your lungs in really good shape so that they can take on this onslaught,” she wrote in her Facebook post. Take supplements like Zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. If your Vitamin D levels are low, get a prescription for 50K I.U.s to boost them. Wear your mask “all the damn time.”
“You look at that curve and it’s growing really fast,” she said over the phone. “I don’t know how to make people take this seriously, I really don’t. I want the kids to go back to school. I want to be able to eat at a restaurant again. We all want these things. But we’ve got to stop, right now, and stay home and wear masks and not go to gatherings.”
Because of her neighborhood involvement, Poster has a strong support system. Her neighbors bring the mail to the front door. People drop off food and sing outside the window, just to lift her spirits. But even with support, she said, the work of fighting an illness and caring for others who are also fighting it feels long and lonely. She encourages people in need of help to reach out to the Beach Cities Health District, which is offering support for mental and emotional health. She also encourages people to “take this seriously.”
“People just need to see their connections to other people,” Poster said. “The virus is there, we are its hosts, and it’s following us through all of these connections. And maybe you’re not going to get sick, maybe you’re not even going to feel it, but if you’re not wearing a mask, you could give it to somebody who could give it to a 93-year-old-man.” ER