On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Carrie MacKay went home.
“I’m beyond excited,” she told the Langley Advance Times.
All this month, the Langley resident has been posting an account of her battle with COVID-19 that landed her in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital just over three weeks ago.
“I still need my oxygen tank to take home, but I feel pretty great,” MacKay said.
“My energy level is sky high because I’m so excited to go home.”
She was especially looking forward to being reunited with her beloved dog Fender.
For the physically active MacKay, 46, a graphic designer and artist who has no underlying health conditions and doesn’t smoke, the impact of the virus was a shock.
A year ago, she was painting windows in Langley with messages of encouragement to first responders during the early days of the pandemic.
Now, MacKay gets winded walking, and can only walk about a minute, so she doesn’t expect to immediately resume her window painting.
“Definitely can’t climb ladders with an oxygen tank,” McKay remarked.
“Stairs will be a struggle.”
She said she will be able to resume her computer design work “when my brain fog goes away.”
MacKay made up her own Valentine’s Day card for her ICU roommate and new friend “from COVID Carrie to Corona Anne,” along with a thank you to the nurses, doctors and all staff at the hospital.
In her Facebook postings, MacKay described the impact of the coronavirus, how at at times she was fighting to draw a full breath, and finding it nearly impossible to sleep as a result.
She explained she had to be “super still as to not go into a coughing attack” and gasping for air.
One morning at 3 a.m. she reported having had a “scary moment,” suffering a coughing attack that went on for 20 minutes “and got so much worse in intensity” requiring a nurse came in to up her oxygen to help her breathe “while I struggle to cough up some phlegm while trying to breathe with a mask on.”
She is grateful for all the support she has received and has a message: “wear your masks and be careful.”
“I just want people to be aware of how serious this really is,” MacKay said.
“That’s why I decided to share it all.”
“And don’t ever take your life for granted,” she added, “all the little things, like breathing, brushing your teeth (and) sitting up in a chair.”
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