HENRYETTA, Okla. (KFOR) – A Henryetta woman is fighting for her life after contracting the Delta variant.
69-year-old Jeanne Gang went to the hospital about a week a ago in Okmulgee.
Her daughters, Kassidy and Kimberly Kern, say her symptoms started flu-like when she was first diagnosed, but took a turn last week.
“My mother took actually quite a critical and severe turn for the worse,” Kassidy said.
Jeanne had to be intubated and held in the ER because there were no ICU beds.
“Knowing that your mom is sitting intubated in an ER and there are no rooms to be had, it’s really scary,” Kimberly said.
Hospital staff searched for days across four states for an ICU bed. Jeanne was finally flown to a hospital in Tahlequah Friday.
“It’s hard on our family,” Kimberly said.
“[The virus] just started to put this gunk in her lungs and then it started to solidify. When we’ve been talking to the doctors today, one of the reasons she so critical is they’re having to pump her lungs through this ventilator with so much air to essentially pry them open because COVID has cemented them closed,” Kassidy said.
Kassidy says it was difficult when the doctor asked about advanced directive.
“That is never a conversation you’re ready for when it comes to you,” she said. “These are absolutely heart breaking things to have to be faced with.”
“You have to be honest to your self about the outcomes, the possible outcomes, we pray for strength, but we also realize this virus is deadly. So we pray. Pray instead of worry,” Kimberly said.
The sisters say the virus can affect anyone.
“This is definitely not something we would’ve ever expected to happen and certainly she didn’t either as someone who chose not to get vaccinated and yet here we are,” Kassidy said. “When it comes, you hope to God you are prepared for it, and I can assure you, as someone who has been through it twice, after my dad got severe COVID, you are not prepared for it anytime.”
They say they hope people will take steps to protect themselves, like masking and social distancing.
“Definitely encourage people to get that vaccination if they can, and if they can’t, have those minimum precautions in place,” Kassidy said.
Kimberly says sports season can be a motivating factor to take precautions.
“We need to knuckle down and make sure that we that we can have a sports season. It’s time for us to put on our masks. It’s time for us to take action,” she said.
The sisters say Jeanne has been a horse trainer almost her whole life.
“Horses and her husband Donnie really are her life right now, and she’s completely dedicated to both and we want that to maintain on the other side of this terrible journey after she gets over this and moves on,” Kassidy said.
“I learned about hard work from her. I learned about attention to detail from her. I learned about charity from my mom,” Kimberly said.
Kassidy remembers something Jeanne would say to her students: if you just improve one percent every day, then you’ll be 100 percent better in 100 days.
“If anyone can add my mom to her prayer list, we’re just looking for that one percent for my mom so that every day she gets a little bit better,” she said.
The Kerns say their father and stepfather have also gotten COVID, but have recovered.