Support for this American life comes from Squarespace, make your Web site your own with the ability to customize, look and feel settings, products and more for a free trial of your new Web site. Visit Squarespace dot com, slash American and enter American Squarespace. Think it. Dream it. Make it. Support for this American life comes from Progressive, one of the country's leading providers of auto insurance, with Progressive's name, your price tool. You say what kind of coverage you're looking for and how much you want to pay.
And Progressive will help you find options that fit within your budget. Use the name your price tool and start an online quote at progressive dot com. Pricing coverage match limited by state law. A quick warning. There are curse words that are unbleached in today's episode of the show, if you prefer a beeped version. You can find that at our Web site. This American life, dawg. Ron Aatish is a doctor in the intensive care unit at a big hospital.
Henry Ford in Detroit. I'm a chronic cases started arriving in March. She made up this job for herself. She started spending hours of each day walking the fourth, fifth and sixth floors. That made it the ICU. Just checking in on her co-workers, seeing how they were doing. Anyone's which means it maybe more than any single person in the hospital. She knows best what the staff has been going through at every stage of this pandemic. She tries out even, for instance, when a unit clerk tells her that she is short on bleach and wipes.
See if I can poke some people. OK. Thank you. I love you. Love you too.
Megami on our staff is the person who first reached out to Ranna and got to know her. Hey there, Mickey. Hey, IRA.
So one of the things that's new about Corona virus is how much death the doctors and nurses see. It's relentless and RNA especially worries about the doctors who are still in training their residents and fellows. All right. Henry Ford is a big teaching hospital. Yeah.
So when I was a resident, she says the doctors in charge never checked in with the trainees about their feelings after a patient died. She says it's traumatic. You can feel like you failed them. And Brenna says that to the residents she trained with actually died by suicide. She sometimes still, like, wonders if someone checking in might have made a difference. So, you know, when she heard about a team of Henry Ford trainees who lost a patient, she made a point of stopping by to see them.
They're all in this cramped, windowless work room. It's on the fifth floor.
Hi, you. How are you? How are you?
I was trying to write an e-mail to you, but that's why we came down, because I figured it was like a better talking thing than we heard. There was a bad day.
There was a young 22 year old woman who died and everyone took it. Yeah, hi. Anyway, that's a resident named Rijn saying there wasn't a dry eye.
I'm not sure I've ever heard doctors talk like this among themselves about what it's like when a patient dies. That you say is interesting.
You've played me this tape and before this conversation with trainee's even get started. Their leader, Jay Lakshmi, canthe heads for the door. We've a kind of Boxun, you guys.
You just have to do this thing. Yeah.
So she stands in front of the door and she opens up this bag of donated scrub caps that have sharks and dinosaurs on them.
Did it make you too sad? Is that why you just took yourself out of the conversation? Well, I feel like you need one of these, though, because I'm seeing your hair.
You know how many of those? Why are you wearing giving them to sort of. And and then ran out.
She turns out that resident Rheem to get her to say more about her feelings about this patient who died. Who are they taking care of her for a whole month.
What were you sharing about the piece? It was just, you know, like she's 22. She's just like one of us. And I was just staring at how beautiful her eyelashes, her nails, her toenails. She she she worked in the eyelash business. She was like we saw her pictures. Her mom shared her pictures. And she was she was she was the hardest case for us. I mean, for me personally, I wanted to quit many times, many days.
I would imagine the conversation with Doctor just just I can't do it anymore.
So we all have those days. We literally all have those days. It's crazy what we expect of ourselves. I've cried on rounds multiple times. I've had to leave sick of rape cry. It's just really hard.
Jay, I tried to get room to take a day off to get a break. The next day was her son's seventh birthday, but Rim didn't wanna leave the rest of her team hanging. He said.
And you said, Come finish my work. No, it's okay. He doesn't wake up till 11am. You know, it's seven enthrone.
I got him many toys. Toys aren't gonna replace you. You know what? A seven. It's a lucky number. Yeah. And my culture is very lucky.
You know, even here with white people you see in this room. No, no, no.
We chose Henry Ford Hospital because it's in Detroit. City is 80 percent black. Black Americans be dying of covered 19 at higher rates than anybody else in Michigan. They are four times more likely to die than whites. Henry Ford usually gets a makes a black of my patients from all of the Midwest.
But with Pandemic Hospital basically turned into a huge covered ward for the saved, Detroit, patients in the ICU were now mostly black. The staff says the majority were essential workers, bus drivers, police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, people from grocery stores.
It's personal on a lot of levels.
Dr. Geneva Tatum is one of the few black doctors in the ICU. One of the senior doctors in the hospital is a pulmonologist. A family of. When she was 10, she has deep ties to the city now and a deep awareness of what the virus has done to black people there.
I mean, I've had. Friends, parents. I've had multiple church members, multiple community leaders die. You know, when I walk into the ICU and fifteen out of 16 patients is, you know, a black male between the age of 45 and 75. You know, it's really. An emotional, emotional thing. Dr. Tatum was alone because of the stress of covered. She's talking to a therapist for the first time. Her cousin.
She and way more phone calls with me than she would probably care to admit. I probably over thousands of dollars in downplaying money. We started recording the staff at this hospital in mid April because we wanted to see what it is like for them to be going for so long in this intense and difficult situation. Rena started recording these conversations on her iPhone for us with everybody's permission and knowledge. And she said on almost 40 people is urging them to talk to us and to be honest about what's really happening in hospital until everything including, quote, where we fail at times, be you.
She wrote, I love you today in mid-April that we started talking to RNA. And the doctors at Henry Ford was the very first day that the number of people admitted to the E.R. was fewer than the day before. It was the very first day after their peak. And the number of covered patients has slowly dropped since then.
We wanted to follow the hospital staff over time because we wanted to see how they managed and adapted and adjusted and and just what it did to them personally. And so we did regular calls with nurses and doctors on the Henry Ford staff for two and a half months. And what we're gonna bring you this hour are the moments that just really struck us and surprised us of all sorts from WBC, Chicago. It's this American Life. Stay with us. Robyn Semien is the producer on our staff who talked to Dr.
Tatum, who just heard. And Dr. Tatum told her this story that gives a sense of the situation at Henry Ford and in Detroit.
Robin, I'll explain in our first interview. I asked Dr. Tatum a benign question about covered patients using face time to talk to their families who can't visit the ICU because the disease is so contagious. And as an answer, she told me a story so harrowing, it speaks to the relentlessness and devastation of the disease on the city, its speed and cruelty. As about a patient in his early 40s who had Down syndrome, who was being cared for by his sister at home, his sister brought him in with covered symptoms.
She was also taking care of her mother, who was also sick with Koven. So she had to drop him off at the hospital by himself.
We bring him in. He's very sick. We bring him in to the ICU. You know, we're gowned and masked and face shields and gloves and, you know, that physical barrier between us and him. And we're trying to explain to him what in the world is going on. You know, he doesn't understand it. He just sees a bunch of people dressed this way and is scared, confused, wondering where his sibling is, what's happening, why he needs to wear oxygen.
And then that's when it dawned on us. We we we have to figure out a way pretty quickly to help him understand.
So they used face time.
This is one of the first times Henry Ford used it with covered patients. It was still early in the pandemic. Dr. Tatum and her team got the man's sister on the phone on video so she could explain to her brother how sick you was and why the oxygen was necessary. And then she told the doctors what might help her brother relax. You know, his favorite TV channel is this his favorite TV program is that he likes this war flag. He likes these things for activities.
And so we were able pretty quickly to get those things that he needed kind of, you know, create the environment as close to normal as it can be and in an isolation room, if you will.
And did that work? Did it calm him down? It absolutely did. It absolutely did. Meanwhile, she says his mom was at a different hospital with covered and her condition was worsening. His sister was monitoring them both from home and calling our brother all the time to check on him and keep her spirits up.
Was she giving updates to her brother about how their mom was doing, or was that like a bridge too far?
That was a bridge too far.
Oh, so he did. He really didn't know that his mom was sick. No. And and and, you know, the sad thing in this case is actually because the sister who was his caregiver was well taken care of, him and his mother. She got ill.
The staff found this out by accident. One day they needed the sister's help.
And we kept calling in and couldn't get an answer. And then after multiple attempts, another sibling called and said, hey, you know, I'm Sonsoles. You know, other sister. And the reason why you haven't been able to get in touch with my sister is because she has now passed away. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. I'm not really sure if he knows that is this. This caregiver has passed away. Yes. Because it's you know, so it is it was devastating to us as a teen when we heard about that, you know, because, again, this is.
This is the aftermath of what we're seeing. And to know that, you know, his sister who's, you know, spent her life, you know, making sure that he was OK, you know, wound up dying from the very disease that we're treating him for. Which really, really did pull. And this is what we've been seeing over and over again. You know, the person who gets admitted to the ICU who, you know, tells us.
Yeah, well, my spouses also say or my daughter or son is also saying, you know, we've had instances where we've had multiple family members on just one family, you know, in our ICU. So it's it's really difficult and something I don't think any of us could have, even emotionally we prepared ourselves for. At its peak covered spread through Detroit like an invisible wildfire. Entire homes, neighborhoods unrecognizable afterwards.
The man Dr. Tatum treated was moved to rehab to recover from what Kova did to his body. What it did to his life is different. There's no rehab for that. Robin simians a producer on our show, Equine. God bless America.
In a boom, we first started talking to the staff at Henry Ford. The intensive care unit was struggling with something they had never seen before. All these patients who are just not getting better. These recovered patients who would either die or they'd stay stuck on ventilators for weeks and the staff had no idea how to get them off. Well, that doctor read issue we heard at the beginning of the show would circulate through the hospital, talking to staff and checking in.
They all knew that she has a very particular approach to medicine and to patient care. Mikami. Welcome back.
Hey again, IRA. So, yeah, René's whole approach to medicine comes out of an experience she had back in 2008. She was a doctor here at Henry Ford and then she landed in her own AC, was a patient. She had multi-system organ failure, went on a ventilator, and she told me her co-workers acted like she couldn't hear them, but she actually could.
What shocked me the most was over hearing a resident in the hallway say she's trying to die on me. Hearing in the operating room, she's circling the drain. It's so scary to hear that. Yeah, it was so difficult to imagine my own recovery when everyone around me was talking about me as if I was dying. But, you know, I I had said similar things. She's circling the drain. Yeah. It was a culture of bravado. And it was showing that you were untouched by suffering.
It was that it didn't matter. One of the things I've always felt sort of ashamed about is that our patients have been telling us these things for years.
When she recovered, she returned to her job at the hospital with a new mindset.
It was all about empathy, that empathy would make her a better doctor, not worse, which was the opposite of her training. She'd been taught that too much feeling cloud the doctor's judgment.
She and a small team revamped the way the whole system talks to patients, and Renaud wrote a book about her experience that's now used in medical schools. But wouldn't COGAT hit their ICU? It became impossible for the staff to do some of the things Brett put in place, like before covered. When someone arrived unconscious or sedated into the ICU, they'd always ask the family, What do you think your loved one would want me to know about them? Families would put up photos and bring quilts, personalize the rooms, the staff they liked that they really wanted to get to know the person they'd be caring for.
But under covered all that was impossible. The Emmys could no longer come in and get to know the staff.
I had one nurse call me just yesterday. I feel like all of my patients are the same.
Like, what does that mean? All the same. In this case, they all have covered pneumonia. They're all prone to. They're all on the ventilator. And so there was the risk of depersonalization. For the patients. She said getting to know their patients was a part of their job, that they really got a lot of satisfaction out of. But they didn't totally realize that until Kobe took it away.
It's change throughout the hospital was biggest for the nurses. They're the ones who spend the most time with covered patients. And our next story is about the nursing staff in Pod four, the ICU and Henry four is broken up into these pods. Pod four was kind of the frontline in the hospital's covered 19 effort. It was the very first pod designated as all coronavirus patients before the other ICU pods also became all covered all the time. Ben Calhoun spent weeks talking to the nurses and pod for.
By mid April, the nurses in Pod four had adapted to the alternate universe covered 19, at least in certain ways. What I mean, take just the PPE, that's the personal protective equipment they had to wear to go into Kofod rooms. This was a high stakes thing at this point. People had seen 10 ICU staff get covered. Two colleagues were on ventilators. One nurse had died. Some people got superstitious about I was put on my gloves in this order.
I always wear a scrub cap under the paper cap. And then I won't get sick. What I didn't get about the PPE until talking to the nurses in Pod four was the mundane, relentless, crazy, making this of the very gear, keeping them safe.
This arduous ritual of rubber gloves, taieb gowns, p 100 respirators that look like gas masks, clear plastic face shields. They took five minutes to put it on to go into a room, five to eight minutes to take it off. When you come out, you might have to do this as many as two dozen or more times every single shift. How long it took to get into a room because of all the PPE is actually a good example of how Kovik changed what it was like for people to do even just a basic and normal parts of their jobs.
Evan Gaffey is a nurse in Pod four. He says you have these ICU rooms with windows out onto the hallway like all ship long.
You hear people banging on the the glass windows because they need the you know, they went into the room and they forgot, you know, their supplies to draw blood or they forgot one medication.
So so that's like a regular sound. Yes, it's very irritating.
But we're all doing it to each other so that there's a little bit of like, boom, boom, boom. Oh, not again.
Yeah. Yeah. It was hard in the new world of Kova to even communicate with these patients to explain where they were and what was happening and to reassure them and to connect with them in the way that they're used to. The way Ranna artist talks about they were still puzzling out the ways to do that. These patients, many of them were sedated alone in a room with the nonstop sound of the ventilator, which is loud. It's like a vacuum.
So nurses had to shout through their P 100 mask, which is like a gas mask and a clear plastic face shield over the roar of the ventilator.
You want to be quiet, OK?
Now, it's really you're speaking through your eyes because that's really all I can see. Anthony Vallerie, another nurse in Pod four. You got to speak through your eyes because they can't see it. Or you just explained to them that you're smiling. The only times I've said that, I said I'm I'm saying good morning with a smile on my face right now.
You know, you're here for you being cool with me. He right now. Hey, are you in any pain now in April?
A month and a half into all of this. The nurses from Pod four seem like people who are in the throes of a crisis, but also like people who are used to crises. The first time I talked to Evan, I ask how he's holding up. I'm good. Yeah. You know, I have a. A good ability to kind of leave work at work. So, you know, the second I leave, I can kind of just not think about it.
But I'm holding up good. Sarah Davis is another nurse in Pod four. She'd been hoping to take on extra shifts because her husband lost his job thanks to Kofod. But you ask how she's doing. She's got the same kind of ICU nurse toughness, which I sort of grew up around. My mom was in New Natal ICU nurse. She talks like Evan, who talks like Sarah.
I think kind of what I. I do. And most of us do. Like here in the ICU, things are hard. A week. What I try to say is you put your pants on and you do it. You can't complain about it. That's gonna make it worse than you. You just got to do it. By May. A month later, things change. Now it seems likely that pod for patients who'd been stuck on life support for weeks.
Most of them would probably never recover. Evan was used to helping patients get better or giving them a dignified death. Now he felt like he was seeing too many situations that were neither. The nurses had not seen this coming.
Sarah Davis told me she'd braced herself for the surge, but nobody envisioned this part.
You know, you you go to work because you want to help people. That's what these patients, any patients are. Why we've got to work in the morning here, you know, and when we can't when we can't help somebody or we're just. Kinda helping them just get through the day when a lot of this and I don't want this to sound the wrong way. But we know that they're probably not going to make it out of there. I mean, so I you know, and I feel like I'm an up person, optimistic by nature, too.
And recently, I'm I feel that. I feel like I have changed. I'm more I'm more of like my husband is a realistic guy. And I'm not optimistic now. I feel like we're we're kind of changing places. When I talked to Evan Guffey in May, he tells me about what he's struggling with the most, that families are continuing to tell them to do everything they can to save patients, which he gets. But there's a patient who kind of typifies what he's seeing.
The man, several underlying health issues who's been stuck on life support for weeks. He's heavily sedated, breathing tube down his throat. Eventually, the man's kidneys give out. So he's on constant dialysis. His lungs also give out. And even when they stop sedating him, he remains unresponsive.
It's like. Know what? What do we. Know what are we doing here? We're just continuing to. You know, make these people suffer in a way. It's tough to see those people suffering every day hooked up to all of these different lines and tubes, and they're essentially unresponsive. And we know, you know, if we were to cut a couple of the interventions off, they would pass away very quickly. So I think it caused a lot of frustration with the nursing staff.
You know, because we feel like. You know, we're prolonging the inevitable. You know, some of the frustration got product yesterday. We had one of our nurses talking with the physicians, you know. You know, about like, well, when when is enough? Like, when are we done? You know, Evan means that the carrying thing would be to let them die. I don't know, man. I don't know. For. It sounds like everyone, from what I could tell from the rounding there, just really frustrated.
They feel like they're torturing people.
They do very much actually around the same time, Ron Artest checked in with Aaron Dick's evidence, his boss. They were standing outside the nurse's break room talking about exactly what Evan was saying because they feel like they're germane. Yeah, I feel like they're preventing the inevitable. And everything that we do is not doing anything. You know, and they're like, this is not right. And I feel, you know, they start to feel guilty. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Like they're just keeping somebody alive when there's nothing we do is changing.
You know, I, I, I'll completely understand that.
You know, there's talk about how pod four nurses are stuck in the worst position in medicine. We just they're caught in the middle between patients who they worry are suffering, who are clearly dying and their families were holding out hope.
That's what they don't understand it. It's so abstract, you know, like we wouldn't believe any of this if we weren't here, right? No, no, it's hard. I mean, you don't unless you're sitting here a day in and day out, you know, and living it every day, you don't understand it. You can't have the feelings that we all have.
And so it's I've been wondering if there's anything we should try to prepare to do differently maybe before the next wave, which is good.
I hate to even say I know, like if there are different timelines for these conversations by these conversations, random means, conversations with patients, families, where she wonders if doctors and nurses need to change the language they're using with them. When a patient is getting better, we're talking about this the other day. I think it's how we say things. Instead of saying when there's that second set of saying we've seen progress today, maybe we say we've seen a change today, you know, and this is what we've seen because it creates false hope.
Right. And so not to I don't want to instill that like. Oh, my. Like, they're getting better because they're still so crazy sick. But if we say it differently, you know.
Yeah. Because we're so eager to give. Good. Well, right. Like we want to. And so we now. But sometimes it's false. Yeah. Yeah.
Because they can tell it's a really wise and safe. They can change so rapidly. So I think that's the challenge.
We're asking a lot of everyone. Right. A lot. Yeah.
That same week this week, nine. One of the nurses I talked to, Sarah Davis. She had a day where two patients died. And neither of them had family in the room with them. The first was a man who was intubated so he couldn't speak. Sarah stood with the doctor and held an iPad wrapped in a plastic bag in front of the face of this dying man as a woman said goodbye to him.
And just hearing that conversation with that woman who is talking to the patient who couldn't speak after her. You know, I'm just saying, how much did she loved him and that it was a pleasure to have him to have him in her life. And, you know, it was just really there's just so much sadness. In normal times, Sarah wouldn't even be witnessing this kind of private moment. I seen families would come into the room. Doctors and nurses would leave.
And the chaplain. The second death does the same shift. Sarah and others in Pod four gathered outside the room of a man who is dying alone. They prayed with the man's son, who's on speaker phone so that, you know, that was hard.
Probably less than an hour after that. Sara says the other patients, the man with the iPad, a couple of family members were supposed to be there when he died.
But things went wrong because they can't. The family told the hospital, take his ventilator tube out and we'll be there to say goodbye. At seven thirty three times. So not long before 730, Sarah was in the room and he was extubated. We're taking. But then this man starts dying much faster than normal. And then his family is not there yet.
So I was waiting for them to come. But while while I was waiting for them to come, I was making him comfortable and. And I stayed with him while he died. Well, before his family came. So and he ended up passing right before his family came. I can't stress enough how different this is from Sarah's normal job. Being alone with a dying patient since covered. It's common for nurses, though, in hospitals everywhere. With this man, Sarah stood by herself and held his hand and stroked his head.
She told him he did a good job. She stared through the window, hoping desperately that his family would appear.
And then I came home and you'd appreciate this because your kids and I thought I was OK and I had come home. My kids are normally asleep and I just peeked in the room that they were in and they both were looking like they were sleeping. I was just kind of looking at them crying. And then they were both up. And my son was like. Oh. Are you sad? Then I start bawling my eyes out. And I was like, that was a sad day.
And he and, you know, he knows what I do. And we called the virus the world a bug. And he asked if somebody died. And so I told him yes. And I just like in sexual terms, you know, that I was with the man that he was comfortable. And so that was probably the the saddest day that I've had.
I'm so sorry. I can't imagine. It just really it just really sucks. Around the same time, early May. Cold cases have finally receded enough that parts of the hospital are starting to go back to normal. Non covered floors are reopening. People who've been furloughed are coming back to work. Specialists who'd been assigned to covered ice use go back to their normal jobs, leaving the deli reopens. Some people tell Ranna that they're surprised to find themselves feeling upset about other parts of the hospital going back to normal.
Not because they're jealous, but because it makes them feel like this awful thing they'd all gone through is being erased. And for the staff of Pod four, with their 16 ICU beds, there's still 100 percent Kofod patients in the covered. Patients are going to keep coming around to talk to me about it.
I'm not feeling relief. I'm seeing sadness. And that's the thing that's starting to settle in, is this is ours.
The release valve isn't coming anytime soon. Right. A group of doctors and nurses who are caring for these patients are going to be the group of doctors and nurses caring for these patients for the next two years. And I don't know if we wrap our minds around. It was this brutal new normal stretching out all the way to the horizon of the foreseeable future.
Ben Calhoun, he's one of the producers on our show. Coming up. Your dad comes off a ventilator, his life has been saved. What is the very first thing he says to you? We hear what happened to one family. That's in a minute. Chicago Public Radio when our program continues. Support for this American life comes from Squarespace providing designer crafted Web site templates that are mobile friendly e-commerce ready and customizable. Squarespace Web sites offer analytics to help you grow in real time with free and secure hosting an award winning customer service.
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Potential savings may vary, discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations. This American Life, I'm IRA Glass today show the repreve stories of Corona virus at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Not when they were busiest and things were the worst. But in the weeks since, as the number of cases steadily declined, what you're hearing this hour is when things were less awful, I should say, before we go any further. That, of course, this past week covered 19 cases across the country have been on the rise, including in Michigan.
Anyway, in the first half of our show, we focused mostly on the staff of the hospital in this half. We turned to the people that they tried to save. We've arrived at Act two of our show at 2:00 stands. Good day. And we found about the patient in this story from a recording made by a young doctor named Stan Lindor, who worked in the intensive care unit during the second year of his training at Henry Ford, studying his specialties, nephrology and critical care.
He said that he would binge Oreos to cope with the stress. I am not going to make my summer body goals, he told one of our producers. Anyway, our producer, Emmanuel Berry, put this together. It begins with a voice memo that Stan recorded for us on his phone.
This is April 30th, two thousand twenty seven thirty at night. And I've just finished my last covered ICU day of work the last eleven days in a row, and it's been sort of a crazy experience. And today was. Really rough, really rough. I've had some really. Horrible moments, horrible moments that I will always remember, and I feel like I'm eventually going to have PTSD from this, which sucks. But one of my best moments in this has definitely been.
One of my patients and I will always remember her for the rest of my life. She was young. And pregnant. Very along in her pregnancy, very along. And the first day that I met her. She was struggling to breathe. Like, really struggling to breathe. And you could tell that just by how fast she was breathing. But she was. In that same moment, comfortable. Her face was total comfort. It was sort of eerie to see how fast she was breathing.
40 to 50 times a minute. That's very fast. That's almost one breath a second for you to inhale and exhale that quickly takes a lot of work, takes a lot of muscle movement to do that. Eventually, someone will tire out. And then he will stop breathing. Before the patient ended up intubated, had to have her call her husband on the phone. So we could have a conversation about what would happen. Not only to my patient, but also her unborn child.
That's an extreme conversation to have within five minutes of meeting a person. And so she was on the ventilator for seven days and ended up getting extubated on that seven day. And she did great for a couple hours after she got extubated. And then by noon. Everything went haywire. And she was adamant, adamant that she would not. She absolutely did not want the two back in and I pleaded with her because her heart rate was up. She was so she was breathing so fast.
Like I thought she was. Going to tire out again, and she was adamant she's like, no, I do not want that to back em. And then two days later, she. Had events, no delay for he. I have never like. She had a bad signal delivery two days after getting extubated from a ventilator for seven days. Like that blows my mind, it blows my mind, blows my mind. A miracle. Amazing. My patient survived.
My patients survived.
I had two two patients in that room and they both came out healthy and a lot of my patients, especially in the beginning of all of us, did it. So I'm really glad I've had this experience right at the end.
What's the baby like? Well, she's she's really tough, baby. Why he likes to.
She want to be in arms all day. And if you don't do what she was she was at the moment, she, like you, are really mad. She gave you this that thing. And it's funny.
But you know what I went through for you, child. OK. Yeah. OK. You really have a bad attitude with me.
This is Francesca Maron that Akino she worked as a chef at P.F. Chang's. She's originally from Puerto Rico. Now she lives in a Mexican town southwest Detroit with her husband, who's a preacher. Their two year old son and now her newborn daughter, who does not seem to appreciate what her mom went through to bring her into the world. Francesco remembers a few things from her time in the ICU. She remembers how hopeless the place seemed when they wheeled her in.
It felt like breathing in death, she says. She remembers how days later, when she came to, no one else in her pod was awake. And she remembers the moment Stan talked about where she refused to be reintegrated. In the morning of the 21st. The tube had only been out for a few hours.
And I remember that another doctor came in and he told me that my heart was beating really fast and my blood pressure was really, really high. And he told me that strongly. They need to put the tools back on again and I need to relax. And I told him, enough, this is not all. You're not gonna put those two back again. And I. I told him to get press one hour. We'll were you to where they took out the tubes on me.
And now you would have put the tube back on me. No, you just need to give me time for him to give me time where my body starved. We act normal. And he was like, OK.
Billions and billions of people have had babies. Millions have gotten covered. Very few people like Francheska have done both at the same time. They decided to induce labor and she chose to do it alone because she thought it would be too dangerous for her family to come to the ICU where everyone had a cope bed. Remember, she'd only been off the ventilator for two days.
She was incredibly weak and could barely raise her legs by herself at this point. She's still on oxygen. The doctors wanted her to hold her breath and push, but breathing in general was still tough.
And then once a baby was born after twenty five hours of labor. So when I had the baby, they really took the baby out of the room and I didn't get to see my baby after three days.
You didn't get to see the baby for three days? Yeah. After three days. Francesco is still recovering from covered and still NICU. So she and the baby were separated when Francesco is well enough to be moved from the ICU to the general floor. She was told she would have to wear a mask and gloves, but she could hold her child for the first time.
I was like, oh, my God. I thought I would never hole you, but I. I felt really happy. And I have a son. I was with her in the room. I called my husband on the hall and my husband started crying. And he Guelleh, my husband is a really emotional person. And he said, crying. He was really excited. He put on the phone my son and my analyst who watches his sister. It was a really, really good omen.
What's the baby's name?
And is that Francesco's at home now? She's not working because she doesn't have childcare. But she's happy that she's no longer being poked and prodded with needles at the hospital. Artist Beth is doing great. She's perfectly healthy. Francesca says she loves kisses from her big brother. She's sleeping through the night and already trying to roll on her tummy. Emmanuel. Mary. At 23, Granger in a strange land. Sir Robert Granger was in Pod four for three weeks.
He got close with one of the nurses, Sarah Davis. She's the nurse that you heard earlier who saw two people die in a single day. The nurses talked about becoming less of an optimist. She had a special connection with Mr. Granger and attached a lot of hope to his case. They talked about his wife who died of cancer in January and how hard his family had taken it. He also talked about his granddaughter, Jocelyn. And as he got sicker, Sarah really pushed him to phone.
Jocelyn. Here, Sarah. I was like, we're calling her. No, I don't want to. We're calling her. So but what was really interesting about him and his daughter was as he was talking to his daughter. He was being so tough. But at the same time crying his wife had just passed away, not from Colvert. And she was doing everything that she possibly could because he didn't want his daughter to lose that.
Emmanuel Bery put together this story about Robert Kendrew and started Jocelyn Joslin's in her 20s and her dad's in his 60s.
He worked for the city fixing buses. He called her on Friday and said he needed to go to the hospital.
I'm like, that's all I need to know. Hung up. Brand speed on my way to his house because I was scared. I'm like, I think he has it now.
What was that? What was that car? Right.
Like, he probably was scared because I probably was driving like the director at Cedar Point. Like it was to the point to where it was. I'm worried about. I'm like, I need to get him there because I'm thinking like I'm hearing all over the news that they're running out of supplies. And I'm like, I need to get him in there. Just in case I need the ventilator. It would be like, you know, how fast you going?
And I'm like, OK. OK. Reality. Reality. And then spike back up. Am and literally just remember drifting into the emergency because I see the test, my mask on. He was in the back seat, just the social distance for me. And then the last thing he said to me was I get out of here. If you take it, be hope so drive like before we go back. But she can't take him home. He has covered and he's taken to ICU for as the days pass.
He gets worse. The medications don't seem to work. His breathing becomes more labored. And then on Jocelyn's birthday, I get a call from him saying, like, I might be put on a ventilator.
And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. Because the doctors are telling me the last thing they want to do is put him on a ventilator because most people are not making it. So I'm freaking out. Then it turns out it was a false alarm. And then a few days later, I get a phone call and he just said, is not looking so good. It almost sound like he whispered it to me because he couldn't breathe.
One of the scariest phone calls of my life. Probably the top second. The first is when he called me to tell me my mother passed. And now this was the second worst phone call I've ever received in my life.
Like, how how do you react to that when I say it sucks so much muscle to not have my voice crack because I was getting ready to sob. I'm like, Cookie. I'll talk to you some. Why didn't you want your voice to crack on the phone or for your dad to hear you getting upset? Cause if just like my mom, if I worry, he worries. That's what he said about you. Is that why you said he didn't want to.
He had to keep his composure, too. Yeah. He didn't want me to worry. Told her dad, you know, I love her and. To date, I'm about to go on a ventilator and I don't know what's going to happen, and I just thought, you know, let the family know. Foreign Minister. And they came in and they put me on it. This is her dad, Robert. No, I'm going to call him Mr.
Granger because that's what Sarah Davis called him. And it just a solid dad name. The nurses told us they often wondered what this all looked like from the patient's side. Here's how it looked for Mr. Granger when he was rolled into the ICU. He says he felt like he was inside a fishbowl. Lots of windows, lots of people staring at him through those windows, including Sarah Davis.
Sarah stands out the most. I just remember her. A lot of times looking through the window and out of the nurses and one nurse, a particular, will hold up a little piece of paper saying, we're praying for you. As I started getting a little worse. I noticed just the doctors were they didn't come in at first, they would just look, you know, they would just look through the window. Look at me wave and then look at the meter at my.
Vitals. What did it feel like to just have people looking? I didn't know what to say at first. I mean, one doctor came in and he sat down and he asked me, what did I think? And I say, well, I'm thinking things are not too good.
This is when the doctors told Mr. Granger they may have to put him on a ventilator.
I said, if I'm on it for a reasonable amount of time, things don't look good. Take me off.
Was it easy for you to make that decision or. No. But it's a decision I wanted to make. I did what I did, want my daughter to have to make that. So I went through my head is at that time, I didn't know they didn't know whether I was going to make it or not. And the only thing I can think of is Wylma. You know, we just went to losing my wife and my daughter's losing a mother.
Now, if I lose, she lose me. She's really gonna be devastated because my daughter, she's a emotional person on that phone call about the ventilator.
Dad was trying to protect his daughter by being tough. Daughter was trying to protect dad by doing the same thing. But neither of them is conscious of this until Sarah, the nurse who is getting to know them both, pointed it out. Here's Jocelyn.
She just asked things like, you know, how was that like? How did you stay so strong? And I said, Girl, when I got I was not strong at all. I let it out. She was like, your dad literally said the same thing. And I was like, go figure. And that's when I realized I usually my mom was the sweetest person ever. And I used to think I got but trying to stay where I can't say no to helping people.
I also think I got it from her. I got it from him. And I was just like it just made me feel more guilty. And I'm like, wow, I really wish I took the time to get closer to you equally as much as my mom for 10 days.
He's on a ventilator and she wonders if she'll ever have more time with him.
Justin, describe this thing that really stuck with me. When you call into hospital every day when you cannot see or talk to your loved one. You live with the sort of picture of them in your head. They are holding on to even though what's happening to them may be completely different than that image. There's this disconnect. So when she calls to check in on him a week or so in in her head, he's sleeping on a vent. But the nurse who answers the phone says, oh, he's off the vent.
And he was she gets him on the phone.
And then like, you know what? The first thing he asked me when he answered the phone to tell me that he was off the ventilator. He literally asked me, do I need any money? I'm like, are you serious right now? I'm like, that. And it just kind of like, you know, how someone does like a personality quirk. It's just fun for their whole. There. That was it. I was like, wow.
You literally just died and came back. And the first thing you ask is, do you need any money? I just remember calling him. All right. April 17th, what is my mom's birthday? He was still kind of like not content. So I asked the nurse and I'm like, I'm like, you know, my dad away. And she was I know he's today. And I'm like, OK, good, because they would've been his wife's birthday.
I just wanna make sure he's not sad or depressed. After four weeks in the hospital. Mr. Granger was discharged to a rehab center when he was well enough to come home from there. Someone to pick him up. She made sure to get all her crying done in the car before she got there. I did, but I tried not to cry because I hate crying in front my dad.
I do, too, because I think. Yes.
Yeah. I really hate crying in front of my. I don't know what it is, but I. I don't know. I just hate crying for the people. But it's just I really hate crying in front of my dad. So I'm like, don't cry. Don't cry. I don't want my crying out in the car or playing all of my life sad reading, writing songs.
So I'm like, OK, what were you playing? I think I have to go stay at my place because I played about like sixty five songs. Because the problem with me is I can ever play a a song fully like in the middle. I'm like, okay, I'm tired of the song.
But I do know some artists. I played his some of his favorite artists with her, the temptations, the whispers, my place on my mom's favorite artists, which are the bee's knees, which is hilarious when I seen him. People look different in a good way, like my dad never had a beer before, so. Wow. You have a beard and he's looked so like say not like in like a bad way. It's like you could tell he lost a lot of weight.
I said, I'm like, wow, mom. Good to see you now. It just felt like we just kind of pressed play. It's like, you know, how like you play a C.D. and it just skips and you're just in some random scene. Like, I felt like I was just like in a random splash of happiness. Like, it just didn't happen, like once I got him in that car. It felt like it didn't happen.
I'm like, wow. Like, I literally have you in a car and you don't. You know, I didn't expect you to look like this, but you look better. And then start talking about food and just normal things we talk about. And I was like, wow, I feel like Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.
It's it's OK. Every kind of end of the movie, they go to the special place where they just talk about random things. And it's called the Enchanted Forest. And it's kind of like that whole car ride, which is conversations and things he missed. Things have been going on. Random things that we've talked about before. What we've been craving to eat. And it just it felt amazing. And I'm like, wow, I almost. I'm so happy that I almost forgot the trauma that I just experienced.
Mr. Grangers at home, but still in recovery. When I talked to him, he could walk up to nine minutes at a time. He's hoping to make it around the Boxun without a walker.
Emmanuel Bery. For Mr. East Side, some of the first covered patients to arrive at Henry Ford were police and others who'd attended community breakfast in early March called Police and Pancakes.
And we were especially interested in the story of that breakfast and those patients because it illustrates the scale of loss outside the hospital walls.
The scale of loss in the city of Detroit. Foley is from the city. He used to work as the city's chief storyteller, a position in the mayor's office that focuses on Detroiters telling their own narratives. He has this story of the breakfast of one man in particular who ended up at Henry Ford.
I'm going to take you to the east side of Detroit for a minute, which is hard for me to do, as always, harder. But I let it slide because I want to tell you the story of someone who embodies everything. The city's eastside is made of Bahlul Stottlemyre. The east side is where some of the first black discharges were able to legally purchase homes and then include some in Detroit's best attractions, like Belle Isle, which is something like our Central Park.
But it also includes zip code for a two five, which, in addition to diehard loyalists, has had one of the highest crime rates in the city. Policing in that zip code. And in the rest of the city, including so much excessive force that the Detroit Police Department, the DPD, it's put under a consent decree for years. And ever since, police have been trying to establish a better relationship with the community, the police and pancakes.
Breakfast was part of that precinct there, the ninth precinct. How the breakfast to highlight the progress that's been made and to try to get more voices in the conversation about police like young people, pastors and business owners. It was at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, a table in the entryway for nametags and long buffet tables where he'd a trace of hash browns, eggs and of course, pancakes were waiting. About 100 people were at the opening session. Police officers, of course, but also residents, representatives of the mayor's office.
State legislators, some high achieving high school students like senior Harley James. He's wearing a suit on a school day. His principal texted him the night before asking if he could come. He's a good public speaker with a full ride to Michigan State this fall. When he arrived, the crowd was exactly what he expected. It would be a lot of. Oh.
It felt like one animal there.
No, nobody go to be like I didn't expect no high schoolers to be. It was barely any school there. It wasn't something a teenager will go to just like. If they was just like, oh, let's go to that, it was just like all round people there. Leidy Azar, who works in the mayor's office handling community affairs on the Eastside, was speaking that day. When she arrived, she saw Whurley and gave him a big hug.
Not surprised that he'd be out of the classroom for an event like this.
I mean, the kid can network like nobody's business. You just see he's an incredibly young man, says she's looking around the crowd to see who's here.
Eyes to see. Looking around at all the different police worried that the message of the breakfast won't come across.
And then I saw Marleau and they said agree assurance that, in fact, it was going to be a good day and a great event.
Marlo is a community staple in Detroit work, and he even tapped to help organize this event and host one of the portions of the breakfast as well. Luddy worked with him a lot last year. Side by side, the intense community meetings where he put people at ease and got their trust. But she hadn't seen him in a few months.
But I remember him walking through the entry door and he just he gave me the biggest hug and looked at me right off my feet. And we're all so excited to do this together that morning. And I was kind of reminded of that. The minute I saw his face that, you know, any concerns we had about how successful that day would be just kind of went away once you low and got that high. One of the other people Marleau ran into was my friend Adam Hollier.
We went to high school together. Now he's a state senator representing part of the Eastside. So he's always at events like the pancake breakfast. But today, he wasn't giving out any hugs.
I was taking care of a 19 very seriously. People were like flip tap in or elbow bumping. But I wasn't. I was trying to keep my distance with folks just because my mother had recently got through chemo and I was, you know, being operating under an abundance of caution throughout this process.
And then he saw Marlo and he forgot all that.
Nobody has a quick interaction, Marlo. I mean, you know, you that's a guy that makes you feel like. Like you matter. Right. A good friend of mine was teasing, they're like models that hustle guy who found his way to work in the system, not on the outside of it. It's just like, hey, I need five turkeys or I need to get these kids from this practice to this breaks. And then all of a sudden you need a referee.
It's like, well, we can get a referee, just call Marleau.
Everybody has a story about Marla. And Myrtle's seem to know everybody who is trying to make life better for black Detroit Heat host these people on a mix of talk show he did on Facebook fly.
I want to talk to you about a special guest that I have today. He's killing it right now. And in a major way, Brittany Rhodes. Yeah, that star is the founder of Black Girl Magic. All right. It's math and magic.
I first met Marlo when we were both invited to speak at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before a panel about Detroit.
Of course. I just started working for the mayor's office as chief storyteller. And I was getting some backlash because the mayor is white and I'm not. I had a long career as a journalist and the mayor hired me during an election year. People said I sold out. I heard rumors about me that I was just hired on to finance the mayor's image. And because of that, I didn't know who in Detroit I could trust that very first time I met him.
Mardle sensed something was wrong with me during that trip to Boston. So he got me to open up. He was disarming and I shared with him some of the mixed emotions I was having about what people were saying about me back home. He told me, and I quote, That really pisses me the fuck off that people would say that about you. And if anybody has anything to say about it, we're going to deal with them. I never forgot that.
Myrtle told me to fuck off his words. He told me that folks are rooting for me. Thanks for watching me. Folks are wanting me to do well and that he was excited for me and he was counting on me.
Just weeks after the breakfast, Marleau Stottlemyre would become the first person he tried to publicly identified as dying from the virus.
Yo, yo, yo. Good morning, Detroit. Good morning. This is Marlo Stottlemyre with another edition of Saturday Morning Coffee at another location. As you will see, I find out in a few minutes.
Here he is the day after the police and pancakes breakfast discussing the event on his makes him talk show, which he hosted every Saturday on Facebook Live.
I had the privilege of being invited by Justin Kempson at the Fort Resource and Engage Miss in a shout out to Justin over on the East Side to facilitate a conversation between the community and the Detroit Police Department.
It was call police and pancakes. And the cool thing about it was, is that they they brought in the different police and different community stakeholders. And the whole conversation was how to create a better community experience with the Detroit Police Department.
And on that video, he also talked about his health. This was before Colbert really hit Detroit. It wasn't on most people's minds.
And he chalked it up to his lifestyle, hustling, grinding, always going hard 24/7.
I ran into one of my frat brothers over the weekend, last weekend, and he said, man, you know, I really like the stuff that you're doing, the moves you're making out here and all these other different things. But one of the things that he talked about was he said, make sure you take care of yourself. He said you need to find a way to have self care. And what's interesting is, is that this week was a week where I felt bad.
I had a few health challenges. I had a procedure done this week and I realized that I hadn't been taking care of myself.
So I need to make some which no one knows exactly how cold it started spreading through Detroit. And then my law enforcement was hit hard in the beginning and dozens of officers were at police and pancakes. At its height, more than 500 DPD employees were quarantined to contain the spread. About a fifth of the force as Crovitz spread through Michigan.
I remember looking at what people in Detroit were sharing on Facebook. There are a lot of requests for prayer. There are a lot of jokes to some about how Vernors, the popular ginger ale was. All these chargers needed to beat this deadly virus.
After police and pancakes, the district health department began letting attendees know that they may have been exposed to the virus. People started wondering if they were carriers and who they might be passing it on to. Harley had left police and pancakes and went back to school.
Luddy left for another community event in District four for Adam went to mingle with some pretty big names as soon as I left the breakfast.
I went over to the Joe Biden office opening with Joe Biden for President Peace. And so, you know, was there with the L.G., the lieutenant governor, Representative Yansi UNTAET and former Governor Blanchard. As we kind of kicked off the office and I drove up to Cornell and then kind of came back it. And that Monday night we had to see the big Joe Biden rally. I ran at sunset and that was the last big event that I had gone to.
But at that same moment, you know, I bumped into Cory Booker and Kamala Harris and, you know, a host of congressional members and and with the governor, you know, when I got the call maybe a week later that Marlo had had, you know, tested positive. It was like, man, God, I just hope I didn't give, you know, somebody, you know, KOVA 19. And when you look look back at those moments, it was all very scared because you're like will win.
How if do I have it? He didn't get sick.
Marlow once worked at Henry Ford as community and diversity manager and later director of International Business Strategy. When he got there in March, he was one of the first patients treated for Cobh at 19 in part four in the ICU.
His time there were short. He died on March 24th. Someone from work. A mutual friend called Luddy with the news. Was he the first person you knew apart from it or he was.
But interestingly, three hours later, I got a call on DPD, a friend who had passed away. That's Jonathan Parnell, who is one of our APD captains. And I've known his family for some time. So he is a great guy, very well respected police officer, a member of the community. So it was Marlo and Rickon that day. And then the next day, two more. And then the next day, Streamwood and that week of March that Marlo passed away.
Well, it's I just I hope to never have to live anything like that. But it was just unbelievable the number of calls and text and people you knew that you worked with, you prayed with you eight with you grew up with that you would see at community meetings that you realize you're just never gonna see again. We lost so many valuable souls in this city. And to come out of this pandemic, they'd be the first people you turn to to say, how do we how do we get everybody, you know, how do we help rebuild some momentum?
And they're not. They're.
Over the next few hours, on that day, she would start to pour in across social media about Marlo, about how Detroit lost a giant champion. Whatever your preferred term may be, there is now a void that couldn't be filled. Who do you call now when you need advice or when you need mentorship? Who calls you when you need to be checked on? Who among us did he leave? And what would he be doing now in this moment when racial inequities have been laid bare not just by the virus, but also by the killing of George Floyd in Detroit?
Another name you hear. Demonstrations these days is Ianna Stanley Jones. She was a seven year old girl from the Eastside who was killed in a police raid while she slept on a couch. Back in 2010. Adam Holyday, my friend, the state rep, says Marlo will be jumping in right now to help realize the goals of Black Lives Matter wherever the biggest Natus. Oh, Marla.
I mean, Marlo is the type of person who would have been in the forefront, but he'd also have been someone that white people would have been reaching out to. Right. So I have gotten a number of calls and texts from my well-intentioned, caring white friends who were like, hey, you know, just checking in on you, you know, thinking about you. Marlo would have been, you know, the king of getting those kind of things right.
Like there have been a host of people reaching out to. They say, well, how can I be helping him by what you can do these three things. Right. It's a I got this organization that is doing this where you can donate your business, could hire more black. What? You can do these things. And I think people are now willing to say that black lives matter. What they aren't willing to say is how much they value them.
Right. Like, how much do they matter? He would have been uniquely situated to have those conversations with people. James Feig in the fourth is another one of those connectors in history who I know knows everybody. Any time I see him out, he's in a blazer and a button up shirt.
But now you do have to be in, like, sound bite. I'm on the air moulders. And I just thought just. Ah. All right, just yell out. I'm in gym shorts a la Patiala right now. Not I'm not on right now.
That's why both James and are around 40. They both grew up on the east side during that chaotic time in these great when cracks started to ravage the city. They both built their careers in Detroit dedicated to Detroit. Where is Marlowe missing right now?
You know, this was a question I started thinking about the other day, and it was tough because. I'm still mourning the loss of Asare. But all. The sad irony. That Marlow's last. Act was at a you know, of police and pancakes breakfast on the Far East Side trying to foster posses sort of relations with young black males in the police. Less was missing right now. You know. There's a lot of us who may have had negative experiences with police, but we also have police in our family, you know, friends, if we could create more forms like that.
Then it would help everybody, because all our goal is that everybody know, number one, stays alive. Number two, life has a chance to contribute to a better Detroit and a better black community. And I get to see him right now being that person that would be as angry as we all are about what happened to George Floyd, but also have some real relationships to point to and lean on.
When I talk to Martel's wife, Valencia, she didn't want to discuss the final days of her husband's life and says their two children are still adjusting to life without their dad. But she told me the story of an overseas trip they took just this past fall.
We went to Rome in October and literally we saw the Colosseum and he was like tearing up. And I'm like, oh, man, you know, what's wrong? You know, he's like, we just don't understand. I'm not supposed to be here like this was what I find textbooks. This was now rehaul. You know, and here's what happening to Billy. That is was those. It wasn't real for me as a black male. It wouldn't be my reality to see is.
And it was overwhelming to show. I'm so glad we got have that experience. But.
It was very important for him that he beat the ads and there so it was important to him that not only that he beat them, but all of the young men that looked like him behind had an opportunity to do nothing. That was the most important thing to him. Last year, Marleau did this thing for 50 days straight. Where each day he'd write a Facebook post about two black people in the. He saw potential in which he later turned into a website called Roster Detroit.
This came after a Chamber of Commerce official said that Amazon and choose to trade for its new headquarters, partly because the city didn't have enough talent. Marloes response was this list to say, here's what you missed out on right now.
The list of people we've lost to covered is too long. So, too, is the list of people we've lost to police brutality.
These lists are about black death. But at this moment, I like to think about roster Detroit Martell's list of black talent, a list that's about black people living. And fogie, he's about to become the head of the Black Media Initiative at the New Mark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
I'm I'm looking at this sign in the window. I don't know if you can see it. It says nothing stops Detroit. Nothing stops the people of Detroit, is what I would say. And the point I'm making is your look. If not us, then who? You got to make a decision about who you gonna be. Right. And the city has to make a decision about what it's going to be and who it's going to be. And I will tell you right now, it's tough.
But the last time I checked, this was the deep. And so I will just say stay motivated, stay connected and help people. Help people. Help people. Help people. I'll help you get me out. All right. Allen.
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