• April 15, 2021

GUEST VIEW: Be smart and take COVID seriously - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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GUEST VIEW: Be smart and take COVID seriously

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Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2021 2:00 am

I want to take the time to let the citizens of Odessa know my current status as the City Council representative for District 2 here in Odessa. Being a life-long Odessa citizen and business owner, I was honored and thrilled to have been selected in the November election to serve on your City Council.

I took the oath of office on November 20 knowing that there were numerous issues that confronted our great city, one of which was the growing occurrence of the COVID-19 virus that was endangering the lives of all Odessans. I would soon know first hand.

In hindsight, I must admit that at the time I was a little cavalier about the consequences and spread of this deadly virus. Like many, I believed that if an individual tested positive for the Corona virus, one need only do what their personal care physician prescribed - a regimen of antibiotics, steroids, vitamins, and nebulizer treatments and all would be good.

I’ve never been more wrong in my life. I went to bed the evening on January 14 feeling good after being accidentally exposed to COVID, and following a week of doing all of the above, only to awaken Friday morning, January 15, unable to draw a breath.

I had never before thought twice about how sick this virus could make those it infected or how sick they would actually get. But let me tell you - not being able to get a breath of air is the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I thought I was going to die. Then the real hell started.

I was taken to Odessa Regional Hospital where the emergency room physician, Dr. Dickson, looked me straight in the eye and told me that I should plan on spending at least the next 2 weeks in the ICU. I was admitted that day, and have spent the last 4 weeks undergoing the most intense treatments available as I battled this insidious disease. I was absolutely in a fight for my life, and was the most scared I have ever been.

I truly believe that the incredible health care professionals at Odessa Regional Hospital, aided by the prayers I received from my wonderful wife, Janice, family and friends, are the main reasons I am here today writing this letter. In a way, Janice was also in isolation, waiting alone by the phone for updates on my condition.

By the grace of God, I am alive today after 36 days in the hospital, although I will continue to receive physical therapy treatment to build back my strength. But, after such a dire diagnosis and weeks of the most intense, life-saving treatments one can imagine, there is now hope for my recovery and I praise God daily for his grace and healing power.

I’d like to personally thank with all my heart the wonderful, first-class healthcare workers at ORH. In particular I want to thank Nurse Amanda, who was my Angel for the first 2 weeks in ICU when I was in my most dangerous stage of COVID-19. And a shout out for the wonderful day-to-day, 24-hour care I received from Nurses Allajandra, Crystal, and Ester, my night nurse, Connie, and my Nurse Practitioners Denise and Cristina who managed my case.

And of course Dr. Dickson, who shot straight with me about the serious condition I was in. And I can not forget to thank Dr. Khavar Dar, my pulmonologist who was so attentive and professional. He encouraged me to share my story so that Odessans could fully understand the consequences of contracting this horrible virus.

We are truly blessed to have such a distinguished group of professionals serving our city each and every day. They are all heroes and a blessing to the city of Odessa.

I close not asking for sympathy or any special attention for the ordeal I have been through. After all, I am just one of so many that have fought this dreaded disease. I simply ask for these 3 things:

1. If you’ve entertained the thought that COVID is just another flu-type illness, I will tell you: IT IS NOT! If you are not wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and practicing social distancing, you are opening yourself up to a life-threatening disease that can and will devastate your family if you don’t take these precautions. Be smart and do these very simple things, please. Together we can beat this disease, but we need everyone to do their part.

2. Do not hesitate to take the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as soon as you possibly can. These two-shot vaccines are proven to greatly reduce your risk for the disease. They are free and there is no excuse for anyone not getting them when it is your turn. Just do it.

3. Lastly, praise the Lord that Odessa, Texas, has a first-class health system to battle this disease, and the city, county, and hospital workers that quickly geared up faster than many cities across the state in their vaccination programs. We are blessed to have the quality of care that we do because of the fine men and women serving in the healthcare industry here in Odessa.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my personal experience, and I hope that it inspires you and your family to take all the steps necessary to stay safe and healthy during these trying times.

Steve Thompson is the District 2 city council representative

Odessa, TX

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