Anyone who knows 5-year-old Rebekah Sullivan will understand the importance of the video her mother received Monday at the North Carolina ICU, where her father is battling to regain his strength for a double transplant. to replace the boy’s COVID-damaged lung.
The video shows Rebekah in a pharmacy near her home with a Band-Aid on her right arm. A neighbor just took her to get a child’s COVID vaccine. And her hate shot.
“It was one of her big things,” her mother, Julie Sullivan, told The Daily Beast. “I remember when she was getting ready to start school, she said, ‘I don’t want to go to kindergarten, not if I have to get injections.’
But she went ahead last fall and received standard immunizations in schools around the country. Her reward is her 42-year-old father, retired Marine Sergeant Major. Andrew “Sully” Sullivan, drove her to school every day.
The hikes are also a reward for Sully, who retired from the army after 24 years and was deployed dozens of times as an elite Marine sniper because he missed out on so many moments. with her older children.
That perfect start and end to every school day will not continue if Julie and Sully test positive for COVID in January despite being fully vaccinated. At first, Julie was sicker than Sully, but gradually he got sicker and sicker, long after being quarantined for two weeks. However, he continued the twice-daily sweet ritual with Rebekah.
“But he got to where he would take her to school and then he would sit on the couch and take a nap because it made him so tired,” Julie later said.
Sully also took Rebekah to dance classes every Saturday. But on Saturday, March 12, he went to Camp Lejeune Medical Center, not far from their home.
Sully was immediately taken to the hospital and given as much oxygen as possible. Julie had returned just a day earlier from a funeral in California for an uncle, who became the third member of her extended family to die from the virus now threatening to kill her husband.
Julie notes: “COVID hasn’t treated our family well.
Sully continued to have trouble breathing that he was taken in an ambulance to the University of North Carolina Medical Center at Chapel Hill. The medical team there quickly determined that he needed to be intubated.
Julie recalls: “He just kept fighting and fighting and fighting. “He didn’t want to be intubated at all.”
But the virus damaged his lungs beyond repair. Julie watched life slip away from this always strong and strong man, who was an Eagle Scout growing up in upstate New York, who enlisted at age 17 and became a Marine The battlefield is lavishly decorated. The couple asked the primary doctor what would happen if he continued to refuse intubation.
“[The doctor] “If you weren’t intubated, we’d give you painkillers until you fell asleep,” Julie recalls.
Then the doctor posed a question.
“Is there a reason you want to do that?”
Sully replied like someone who had just started a new life. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2017 and he plans to earn a master’s degree and specialize in helping Marines and their families deal with psychological impacts as they call for it. And there’s so much more he wants to do, not just with Rebekah, but with her 3-year-old brother and six older children, plus Julie. He answered as emphatically as he could while unable to talk and receive high-flow oxygen.
“[Sully] Julie recalls. “He shook his head, like, ‘Oh my god no! ‘”
Sully’s blood oxygen levels remained dangerously low even after intubation and the medical team immediately placed him on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. . He wakes up with a large tube, or catheter, threaded through his neck into the jugular vein and down to his heart. His blood is now running through an artificial lung that has removed carbon dioxide and given it oxygen. He no longer struggled with every breath and he no longer looked as scary as dying,
“It really saved his life,” Julie said. “You see the color return to his face, the light back to his eyes. It’s great.”
He also had to put a breathing tube down his throat, so doctors were able to get him out with the deep sedation needed for intubation. He was revived even further when the Marines he had trained as snipers started from near and far to visit him. They are allowed to be two people at once and call out “Sully!” He couldn’t talk, but he held out both hands to greet them.
“There are times when he looks at me and he looks sad, but when he sees those people, he looks so happy,” Julie said. “It was a game changer. I think it’s because he’s been to hell and back with those people. ”
Sully and his Marines have endured two decades of seemingly endless war that too many Americans seem to have forgotten. Now, they have joined him in the fight for life when the country has too much to imagine that the pandemic is over.
“I think when he saw them, it was like, ‘Okay, we can do it, I’m dying and coming back, but I can do it.'”
One of the first Marines guests, half jokingly, told a nurse what was going to happen.
“He said, ‘Over the next few days, some of the most dangerous men will enter this room. And the man who trained them was lying right there. So there was no pressure,” Julie recalls.
A doctor has acknowledged Sully’s service and voiced his determination to win the battle with this diabolical enemy.
“He said, ‘It sounds like a lot of Hail Marys, but I’m pulling for you. You gave so much to your country and we were just trying to give something back,’ recalls Julie.
The next move in the battle will be pairing. But Sully will have to build her strength first. He will need a feeding tube.
“No nutrition, no mission,” one of the Marines commented.
And there’s something else Sully has to do if he wants to be considered strong enough to receive lungs and the chance to go on to a second life with a twice-daily reward.
“They wanted him to get up and walk,” Julie said. “The first day he walked, he walked as if it were five to ten agonizing steps. On the second day, he walked out of the room and turned a corner. On the third day, he walked out of the room, turning most of the corner to the next room. So maybe 20, 25 feet.
The father who was once delighted to send his daughter to school now has to travel with all of the ECMO equipment as well as the medical team to make sure the lines are secure while testing and regulating the boy’s oxygen levels.
“That machine was huge,” Julie said. “It was a big deal, but he did it.”
One day a week, Julie leaves the hospital and drives two and a half hours to spend the night at their home.
“I joked that I wanted to love the kids, but it was more like they were in love with me,” she said. “Even when I was 14 years old. As soon as I entered the house, he ran over to hug me or pat me on the mouth. Most of the times, I can’t even get him into the same room. Someone may have missed me. ”
Before Sully fell seriously ill, the mother of one of Rebekah’s classmates passed away. That led Julie and Rebekah to talk about the loss of a family member. And that seems to have helped Rebekah prepare for whatever might happen to her father.
Julie said: ‘She’s handling it with ridiculous maturity and love. “She kept saying things like, ‘I’ll just keep thinking about all my happy memories of my dad.'”
Julie added, “5-year-olds shouldn’t think about such things.”
Julie told the girl who hate photos that she will need to have one more time.
“I explained to her that Dad was sick and when he could see people that they had to get vaccinated — so we needed to get vaccinated right away,” Julie urged.
Rebekah understood immediately.
“She said she would be brave,” Julie reported.
Julie doesn’t want her daughter to be in the same place at random, so she made an appointment this past Monday at a location she trusts, and a neighbor agreed to take her. Go.
On Sunday night, Julie put Rebekah and the other kids in bed and did the laundry, then went back to spend the week with Sully. Instead of stopping at the hotel where she slept for the week, she headed straight for the hospital, arriving around 2am.
“I went right in to check on him,” she recalls. “He was very alert and he asked me to stay. So I pulled up my chair, held his hand, and stayed by his side.”
She was still there when the doctors arrived for the morning rounds. They then suggested that the elevated white blood cell count might explain why Sully didn’t extend her daily walk any further. Instead, he just stood by the bed, marching in place. She wondered if he had pushed himself too much before
“Not a good day,” Julie said.
But things turned bright when she checked her phone and saw a video of Rebekah bravely at the pharmacy, with a bandage on her arm.
“Move around and dance so it doesn’t hurt,” says Julie.
Rebekah was indeed brave, the way a Marine, the way we all should be, to overcome fear for love.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/marine-sniper-andrew-sullivans-new-enemy-is-covid?source=articles&via=rss The new enemy of sniper Andrew Sullivan is COVID