It has been nearly nine months since Irma Dojaquez lost her husband to COVID-19 but as cases and deaths surge at record rates, she's decided it's time to share what happened to her family in hopes of protecting others from the virus.
“This is a serious illness and, unfortunately, we cannot see it,” said Dojaquez.
After 48 years of marriage, Dojaquez was forced to look toward a life without her best friend and life partner, Carlos Dojaquez.
“You don’t even know how hard it hits you,” said Irma Dojaquez. “Your mind wanders, your body does not react to your commands anymore. It debilitates you.”
Both Irma Dojaquez and her husband, Carlos Dojaquez, began feeling COVID-19 symptoms back in March. After a few weeks, Irma Dojaquez recovered from them on her own, but her husband didn’t.
“On April 6, I called [an urgent care] and said ‘I'm very worried, my husband doesn't have any energy and I want him to see a doctor,'” said Irma Dojaquez.
Carlos was rushed to the emergency room and admitted into the ICU.
“I received a call from him saying ‘Irma, I'm positive,’” said Irma Dojaquez.
That would be the last conversation they shared. Carlos spent the next three weeks in a coma.
“The longest weeks, the days were so long,” she said.
Irma Dojaquez said her husband had his good and bad days but she never expected COVID-19 would take him away from her.
“The doctor started telling me that the virus started making complications,” she recalled. “A lot of infections and blood clots, that's what it produces. It got to a point when doctors told me he wasn't going to make it because his body was shutting down.”
Carlos Dojaquez passed away on April 28, 22 days after being admitted into the hospital.
Now several months later -- Irma Dojaquez struck by some people who still won't take this seriously.
“I can’t believe people don’t believe [in] it,” she said.
It's something she wishes no other family has to go through.
“Nobody is exempt from this,” said Irma Dojaquez. “This virus doesn't care what you believe, what your political view is, or what kind of person you are; what ethnicity or what age -- It doesn't care. I understand that some people, like me, are lucky to be alive, but my husband didn’t have that.”
She urges everyone to stay at home and take the coronavirus seriously.
“You don't want to have it, you don’t want to experience it,” said Irma Dojaquez. “It's like a Russian Roulette. And if it's not you, it'll be your parents, your grandparents, if you don't take care of yourself. It's as easy as wearing a mask.”