'COVID sisters forever': From strangers to best friends in a B.C. intensive care unit
VANCOUVER -- When Carrie MacKay was admitted to the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Jan. 31, she’d already endured 10 harrowing days at home battling the virus.
“I would go into convulsion coughing, gasping for air, can’t breathe. And you think, am I gonna die?” Mackey said. She thought she would be in the ICU room alone, until Anne Klei, another woman from B.C.'s Fraser Valley, was brought into the room.
“I hear this lady being rolled in coughing, and I’m like oh God, there’s a COVID person coming in next to me,” remembers MacKay. But the trepidation didn’t last long.
“It would be miserable in here by yourself, we’ve helped each other heal immensely,” said MacKay. “We are COVID sisters, I am Covid Carrie and she is Corona Anne.”
“We hit it off," said Klei. "It was like fate, like we were meant to be there together."
The two women decided to document their long road to recovery on social media.
“It’s about awareness, there is so much ignorance out there right now. People make jokes about it — we need them to know this is not a joke,” said Klei.
The videos show the women learning to use devices to help them breathe, taking their first steps after days in bed, singing together, and even washing their hair inside a shower cap.
“I try to mix it up so some parts are funny, but I wanted people to see the serious stuff because they just don’t know,” said MacKay.
After 10 days in the ICU, the women were transferred into a regular hospital ward on Tuesday. They insisted they remain in the same room.
“She has been my rock, we’ve been each other’s rock,” said MacKay.
“I don’t know what I would do without her, I honestly don’t. She’s so supportive and I don’t think honestly i could have made it through this without her,” added Klei.
The women are hoping to be discharged from hospital in the coming days. Though their time as roommates is almost over, the friendship they formed is just beginning.
“We’ll be COVID sisters forever, for life,” they said. “Bonded forever.”