Coronavirus Chronicles: After surviving COVID-19, couple donates blood in hopes of helping others

On a latest afternoon, Edmonds resident Leah Bernstein drove all the way down to a Seattle parking storage, the place well being care staff donned in private protecting gear drew her blood from a tented station.

Bernstein, 50, and her husband Darryl, 53, have each recovered from COVID-19, and are actually collaborating in a Fred Hutchinson Most cancers Analysis Middle research. Hutch scientists are wanting on the blood of COVID-19 survivors to establish antibodies that may very well be used within the hopes of stopping or treating the illness, according to the center.

Darryl can be within the strategy of donating his plasma, the a part of blood that incorporates antibodies, within the hopes it may very well be used to help others fight the disease.

“We’re so fortunate to have had it and the result wasn’t tragic,” mentioned Leah Bernstein. “We’re making an attempt to be a part of fixing the issue.”

“Is that this it?”

The end result wasn’t tragic, however the couple’s expertise with COVID-19 was scary and painful.

The primary indicators of the sickness got here in mid-March when Darryl Bernstein, “an enormous, powerful man who hardly ever will get sick,” got here down with a fever, his spouse mentioned.

He additionally realized that he had not too long ago encountered somebody who examined optimistic for the virus by way of his work as a photographer. Within the days at first shut down, he had executed a small picture shoot, one thing that appeared low danger on the time.

With antiseptic wipes in all places, the couple tried to maintain the home virus free and Darryl remoted, particularly to guard their 12-year-old daughter Lili. However the home was within the midst of a rework which meant there was only one working toilet for 3 folks. Regardless of their greatest efforts, Leah acquired sick the day Darryl’s fever broke.

“I believed: Properly, he was solely sick for 5 days, I can deal with that,” she mentioned. “But it surely simply went on and on for me.”

She was so delirious that the times blurred collectively. A low-grade fever wouldn’t abate and there was no aid from a brutal headache that felt “like somebody was pushing needles into my ear canal.”

With shortness of breath, she struggled to make it up and down the steps. She was too dizzy to face up and her head felt too heavy for her neck to help.

“I’d attempt to watch a film and it was an excessive amount of,” she mentioned.

Twelve days handed in a fog of sleep and unusual goals. When she did wake, concern gripped her: “Am I going to die?  Is that this it?”

Her older daughter Lena, a university pupil, doesn’t reside with them and stayed away. Lili, 12, did get a fever, however shortly recovered. She was sufficiently old to be self-sufficient whereas her mother and father recovered, having fun with a break from mother’s hovering and a few tv binge watching, Leah Bernstein mentioned, with amusing.

“I take into consideration this on a regular basis: I’m so glad she is 12,” she mentioned. “I can’t think about in the event you had little children. I wouldn’t have been in a position to even make a sandwich.”

Despite the fact that the couple misplaced their urge for food and sense of scent – Leah didn’t also have a need to drink espresso—they stored consuming to remain sturdy.

Associates dropped off Costco ready-to-go meals at their doorstep, and North Edmonds neighbors left meals on the porch.  Darryl is self-employed and Leah’s boss on the nonprofit Women on the Run was “tremendous understanding” of her day off work.

Serving to in a significant method

After their restoration, they realized in regards to the Fred Hutch research and wished to succeed in out and assist humanity in a significant method.

It’s additionally been attention-grabbing to study in regards to the research and the analysis, she mentioned.   Already, they’ve realized that they do have the antibodies for the virus.

However, even that data doesn’t provide full peace of thoughts. Whereas research has shownpractically everybody who recovers from COVID-19 makes antibodies, it’s still unclear whether or not these antibodies confer immunity, and if that’s the case, how lengthy it lasts.

Regardless of experiencing a full restoration, they nonetheless haven’t seen anybody with out social distancing, and put on masks after they exit.

“The data retains altering and I don’t wish to be on the market appearing overtly like I’m superwoman,” she mentioned. “It’s horrible. It’s an terrible illness. All of us must be cautious as a result of we don’t know the tip of it.”

— By Kellie Schmitt

This text is a part of an ongoing collection exploring the impression of coronavirus on the life, work and well being of Edmonds residents. Should you or somebody you understand has a narrative to inform, please electronic mail us at For different tales on this collection, click here.




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