CEDAR HILL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The warnings about decreasing IC beds for children have been there for weeks. Then suddenly an ‘always careful’ Cedar Hill family learned that they hadn’t been careful enough.
“It’s very real, and it’s terrifying,” shared mother of two, Amanda Reaves. “Once we moved into the ICU, it really hit.”
It all started one night at dinner. Reaves says she suddenly lost her sense of taste. Although her 8- and 10-year-old children planned to start the new school year the next day, a COVID-19 test followed.
Reaves and her 8-year-old son both tested positive.
He was asymptomatic, but it took several tests and worsening symptoms before 10-year-old Mackylah was diagnosed.
When her breathing became labored, her doctor recommended she go to the hospital. Upon arrival, the family was immediately taken care of, but beds were not available in the ICU.
Every moment was heartbreaking, Reaves said.
“To see all the machines running, the oxygen in her nose, not being able to sit, not being able to eat because she’s so dehydrated,” Reaves recalls.
Medical experts had warned that the delta strain of the virus was spreading rapidly among children — making them even sicker — and that so many people were sent to hospital that the area’s pediatric intensive care units were filling up.
Shy and soft-spoken, the 10-year-old with autism told CBS 11 that she was “traumatized” by the struggle to survive COVID-19.
She added that it was “hard to breathe”, she “lost her balance” and there were “a lot of needles and machines”.
Meanwhile, her mom says she fought to keep her mind from racing to worst-case scenarios.
“It’s really indescribable,” Reaves said. “I think because of that I realized that this is bad. They have a toilet next to you because you can’t sit up, get up and go to the toilet without getting out of breath. That’s just a lot to me. That reality is a lot .”
Now that she has recovered, Mackylah is much more eager to show off her artwork. However, her mother feels she owes it to her healthcare heroes to try and warn others.
“It’s just terrifying, a really horrible experience and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” said Reaves.
Although her family was exposed before classes resumed, Reaves insists that all schools make masks mandatory, saying it must be done for all children who will be out of order.
“I can’t imagine subjecting another family to what we just went through and if a mask that’s going to help prevent, or a vaccine that’s going to help prevent, just do it.”