Valley News – Jim Kenyon: COVID-19 diagnosis brings family together

Can some better good come out of contracting the coronavirus? Mary Maxfield, a retired Lebanon Excessive Faculty biology trainer, hopes so.

Maxfield, 65, examined constructive for COVID-19 after returning residence from a airplane journey to Arizona and New Mexico in mid-March. On Sunday, she reached the 14th day because the onset of her signs — and simply as necessary, three consecutive days with none lingering results.

In the course of the time she was self-isolating at residence in Lebanon, Maxfield learn in regards to the function that blood from coronavirus survivors might play in serving to people who find themselves critically unwell with the infectious illness. Final week, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration gave permission for convalescent plasma, the a part of the blood that comprises antibodies, for use to deal with hospitalized coronavirus sufferers.

“Blood from individuals who have recovered generally is a wealthy supply of antibodies, proteins made by the immune system to assault the virus,” The New York Occasions wrote in a March 26 story about docs in New York who will quickly start experimenting with the remedy.

The nonprofit New York Blood Heart is amassing, testing and distributing the plasma.

“We have now blood facilities in New England, Delaware and the Midwest, so we are able to do the identical factor in different areas,” Dr. Bruce Sachais, chief medical officer of the New York Blood Heart, informed the Occasions.

Within the days following the FDA’s approval, a whole bunch of coronavirus survivors in New York expressed curiosity in turning into donors. “That is going to deliver individuals collectively,” Sachais mentioned.

Now that she’s cleared the 14-day hurdle, Maxfield has began trying into how she will be able to be part of the trouble to assist the sickest of the sick.

“If plasma could make a distinction, I simply can’t think about not doing it,” she informed me in a cellphone interview.

This week, Maxfield known as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Heart, the place she receives her well being care. After asking to talk to somebody within the “blood lab,” she bought bounced round a bit. However finally she reached somebody who informed her DHMC was “starting to look into” using plasma in treating coronavirus. (I emailed DHMC’s media relations workplace Tuesday afternoon, however didn’t hear again by deadline.)

In keeping with the Occasions, potential plasma donors will endure screening to substantiate they check detrimental. Maxwell sees that as an additional advantage to her and different survivors. “It might be helpful to know that I’m not actively nonetheless shedding the virus,” she mentioned.

Maxfield described her bout with coronavirus as “very delicate.” She suffered largely flu-like signs — physique aches, a cough and a slight fever — for a number of days, however skilled no vital respiratory issues.

Maxfield was additionally lucky to have her 27-year-old daughter, Rigel Harris, watching over her. In a cellphone interview, Harris joked that she spent practically two weeks “working round the home with disinfectant, strolling the canine and doing the cooking.”

Like different older dad and mom throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Maxfield finds herself taking recommendation — and generally orders — from her millennial kids. (Her husband, Robert Harris, died in 2014 from issues from melanoma.)

On March 12, Maxfield departed from Boston Logan Worldwide Airport to satisfy up with faculty associates on a visit to the Southwest that was months within the planning. She was then scheduled to fly to St. Louis, the place her daughter had her first main theater function. (Extra on that in a bit.)

When Maxfield left Boston it “wasn’t black-and-white” whether or not air journey was dangerous. The federal authorities had but to declare a nationwide emergency. A couple of days into the journey, nonetheless, Maxfield developed a low-grade fever. She booked a flight again to Boston for the following day.

Within the meantime, Harris, who lives in New York Metropolis, had returned to her mom’s home in Lebanon. Her play’s six-week run on the Repertory Theater of St. Louis was abruptly halted March 15 over coronavirus considerations.

After arriving at Logan on March 17, Maxfield discovered a store that bought N95 masks. She deliberate to get residence on Dartmouth Coach’s final bus of the day. However her daughter and son, Joe, an legal professional in Baltimore, put the brakes on that concept.

“We didn’t assume she needs to be round individuals,” mentioned Rigel Harris, who picked up her mom on the airport.

Again residence, Maxfield contacted her internist at DHMC, who organized for her to be examined two days later. Her physician, wearing protecting gear, administered the nostril swab whereas Maxfield sat in her automotive behind the DHMC medical workplace on Lyme Street.

A couple of days later, Maxfield realized that she’d examined constructive. At that time, “Rigel banished me” to her second-floor bed room, Maxfield mentioned with fun.

Together with taking care of her mom, Harris has been taking lengthy runs. (Via a lottery, she gained an entry spot within the New York Metropolis Marathon, which continues to be scheduled for Nov. 1.) She’s additionally making audition tapes for her supervisor to ship out to casting administrators.

Whereas the coronavirus has put Harris’ budding performing profession on pause, she will be able to’t think about not going again to it. “I like it an excessive amount of,” mentioned Harris, who graduated from Lebanon Excessive in 2011 and Skidmore Faculty in 2016. “I’ve recognized since I used to be 15 that I wished to behave.”

This winter, Harris earned a starring function in The Cake, a comedy-drama loosely primarily based on a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court docket case involving a baker who refused to bake a marriage cake for a homosexual couple for non secular causes. (The Supreme Court docket sided with the baker.) After St. Louis, The Cake was scheduled for a prolonged run in Hartford, Conn.

However as a substitute of being onstage, Harris finds herself in Day Three of self-isolation at her mother’s home. Though she hasn’t skilled signs, coronavirus protocol requires Harris to hunker down for 14 days now that her mom has obtained medical clearance.

Simply name it: Mom-daughter time, Act Two.

Jim Kenyon might be reached at

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