Registered nurse Shanette Harper recently lost her older brother to COVID-19. (Bill Roth / ADN)
On the last day of August, Shanette Harpers brother died of COVID-19. She was nearby when it happened, though she didnt realize it at the time.
Harper, a nurse, was caring for cardiac patients at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage when her brother was rushed to the emergency room in cardiac arrest. He had called 911, unable to catch his breath. Days earlier he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia. As a medical team tried in vain to restart his heart, Harper was working her shift just down the hallway.
It was the last of his life, and I was with him in the same hospital, she said. And I didnt even know.
Once she heard what had happened, she walked down a long corridor to the nurses station inside the emergency room. Someone took her to his body, so she could spend a few last minutes with her older brother. He was 43.
That night, Harper went home and typed a message on Facebook:
My brother died today, she wrote. After 16 days fighting COVID. I was just so sure hed kick it. Wed texted and the last Id read he was feeling better Saturday. Please consider what informs your choice to not vaccinate, and then seek members in the medical community to ask questions so that your decision is truly informed.
She turned off the comments.
I just dont want people to come down on my brother
Two weeks later, tears slide under Harpers mask when she talks about her big brother: He was tall, with a bass voice and a ready supply of jokes. He worked for more than 20 years at a bank in Anchorage. He was skeptical including of pandemic restrictions. He saw his main job as protecting everyone he loved.
He didnt get vaccinated.
Harper has agonized over whether to tell the story of his death.
She does not want his name published in a news story, though other family members have left it to her discretion. Her brother was a big presence, and a lifelong Alaskan. Plenty of people will know who he is.
But theres so much anger, and judgment, and politics in everything about the pandemic now, Harper says. Including death. She cant bear the thought of strangers belittling his memory.
I just dont want people to come down on my brother for his choice, she said.
At the same time, Harper wants to tell the story of losing an unvaccinated loved one to COVID-19 because so few in Alaska have shared publicly about the experience. She also thinks she could change some minds about vaccination.
If one person lives over this story, thats one, she said.
Harper is Black. She is a longtime nurse. She, too, had questions about the vaccine but ultimately chose to be immunized. She knows people in her community who harbor fears and mistrust about vaccination, and she wants them to at the very least ask their questions to a medical professional they trust.
I need to talk about this, she said. Because I am a person of color. Because I hesitated to get (the vaccine). Because I did get it.
And because her brother didnt.
Registered nurse Shanette Harper shares a text exchange with her brother when he told her that he had COVID-19. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Hey, little one, what are you doing?
Harper has been a nurse in Anchorage for more than 15 years. She is also an actress who has performed in Alaska film, dance and theater productions.
I felt COVID was very serious as a nurse working in the hospital, she said. But I felt very reserved about getting the vaccine.
When the vaccines were rolled out for health care workers back in December and January, she wanted to know about any potential impact on fertility. She asked questions of doctors she worked with, read scientific studies and felt comfortable enough to get her shots.
Harper and her brother were not raised in the same household but had been part of each others life since she was a young child, she said. In their 20s, they grew close. He called her baby sis or little one and said if she ever got married, hed walk her down the aisle.
Theyd gone through periods of estrangement in recent years. But in mid-August, when he got COVID, he texted his sister the nurse:
Hey little one, he wrote. WYD. I caught the Vid. Dont want it to turn into pneumonia.
How did he get it, she asked?
Being out and about without a mask, he answered.
I thought I was dying this morning
They settled into a routine: Hed text to report his symptoms and shed encourage him to take care of himself, giving him tips for staying hydrated, reducing fevers and ensuring he didnt spend too long in bed. He kept her apprised of his fluctuating fever. He told her when he lost his sense of smell. Nothing he reported sounded serious.
It just seemed like he was going to come out of it, she said. Nothing, she said, made her think she needed to put on an N95 mask and race over to take him to the hospital.
[Impossible choices inside Alaskas inundated hospitals]
One day toward the end of August, he texted that hed been to the emergency room. Hed been diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia and sent home.
I thought I was dying this morning, he wrote. Soon after, he posted on Facebook that hed gotten an inhaler, which was working.
On Aug. 31, Harpers brother called 911 he couldnt catch his breath. When medics arrived, he collapsed at the door, Harper said. Hed gone into cardiac arrest.
They worked on him four cycles (of CPR) in the field and two in the hospital, she said.
She doesnt know exactly what happened. Doctors say COVID-19 can weaken the heart. The virus hits every person differently, she said.
The funeral is coming up. People in her family remain unvaccinated. Some have said theyll take their chances with the virus.
Its really hard to hear that in the face of having someone taken away from me, she said.
Harper says if she could have done it again, she would have pushed her brother harder to be vaccinated. As much as a younger sister can.
See original here:
She's an Anchorage nurse. Her brother died of COVID-19 at the hospital where she works. - Anchorage Daily News
- Natural immunity is good. Getting vaccinated after being sick with COVID-19 is better. - USA TODAY - October 19th, 2021
- COVID-19 and pregnancy: Women regret not getting the vaccine - The Boston Globe - October 19th, 2021
- Atea's antiviral pill fails to clear Covid-19, forcing a re-think - STAT - STAT - October 19th, 2021
- Governor Hochul Announces New COVID-19 Data Hub Website to Expand Public Access, Centralize Information and Improve the User Experience - ny.gov - October 19th, 2021
- Nearly every person in Iran seems to have had covid-19 at least once - New Scientist - October 19th, 2021
- Convicted murderer Robert Durst hospitalized with COVID-19 - ABC News - October 19th, 2021
- Biden Admin to Lift COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated - The National Law Review - October 19th, 2021
- Lawyer: Robert Durst is in the hospital with COVID-19 - NPR - October 17th, 2021
- State records 4,485 new COVID-19 infections; 83 in Valley - Sunbury Daily Item - October 17th, 2021
- A dad who traveled 1,200 miles for Covid-19 care is finally going home. Here's what he wants you to know - CNN - October 17th, 2021
- More Covid-19 boosters are on the horizon. But not everyone will need one, experts say - CNN - October 17th, 2021
- Cam Newton reportedly receives COVID-19 vaccine as he looks to sign with NFL team - Sporting News - October 17th, 2021
- Dozens of lawsuits seek to force hospitals to treat COVID-19 with ivermectin | TheHill - The Hill - October 17th, 2021
- The Children Who Lost a Parent to COVID-19 - The Atlantic - October 17th, 2021
- Reddit channel posts stories of anti-vaxxers dying of Covid, scaring fence-sitters into getting the shot - CNBC - October 17th, 2021
- Fans excited to celebrate game day in Tiger Stadium without COVID-19 protocols - WBRZ - October 17th, 2021
- Analysis: With boosters, masks and Green Pass, Israel sees a COVID-19 wave in retreat - Reuters - October 17th, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 318 total new cases; Death toll rises to 2,189; Active cases at 5,868 - KELOLAND.com - October 17th, 2021
- Some Sixers thought Ben Simmons lied about COVID-19 exposure to try to get out of Game 7 vs. Hawks, per report - CBS Sports - October 17th, 2021
- COVID-19 testing can be hard to come by in Northeast Ohio - News 5 Cleveland - October 17th, 2021
- More Victorians died of COVID-19 in August than any other point in the pandemic - Victoria Advocate - October 17th, 2021
- Kyrie Irving, angry parents and personal choice in the Covid-19 culture war - CNN - October 17th, 2021
- Is there truly no COVID-19 in Turkmenistan? Experts weigh in - Medical News Today - October 14th, 2021
- Wednesday, October 13, 2021 COVID-19 Updates | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - COVID-19 - October 14th, 2021
- Wisconsin hospitals urge COVID-19 vaccination for staff now required to have shot - Wisconsin Public Radio News - October 14th, 2021
- Texas considers law that would ban COVID-19 mandates in the state - NPR - October 14th, 2021
- Legislature doesn't notify everyone in hearing with COVID-19 exposures - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - October 14th, 2021
- The hidden cost of Covid-19: years of life lost among the young - STAT - STAT - October 14th, 2021
- WVU Today | WVU School of Public Health aids state efforts to boost COVID-19 vaccination among minority communities - WVU Today - October 14th, 2021
- DPH chief sees very good trend on COVID-19 cases - WWLP.com - October 14th, 2021
- New Navy Guidance Will Discharge Sailors Refusing COVID-19 Vaccination Without Exemption - USNI News - USNI News - October 14th, 2021
- NEW: 45 deaths in Nevada, but COVID-19 cases and test positivity continue to fall - KLAS - 8 News Now - October 14th, 2021
- UnitedHealth expects smaller hit from COVID-19 in 2022 - Reuters - October 14th, 2021
- Wisconsin students have to do safety drills every year. With COVID-19, some schools are approaching them differently - Wisconsin Public Radio News - October 14th, 2021
- New Zealand reports biggest rise in COVID-19 cases in six weeks - Reuters - October 14th, 2021
- Columbus Division of Police officer dies after COVID-19 illness - NBC4 WCMH-TV - October 14th, 2021
- Bears RB Damien Williams placed on COVID-19 list - The Athletic - October 14th, 2021
- 86 new COVID-19 cases reported for Juneau Oct. 9 thru 11 City and Borough of Juneau - City and Borough of Juneau - October 12th, 2021
- Appleton earmarks $2 million in federal COVID-19 aid to support renovation and expansion of library - Post-Crescent - October 12th, 2021
- Sydney COVID-19 cases ease further as focus shifts to reviving economy - Reuters - October 12th, 2021
- Whats the deal with NJs unspent COVID-19 relief? - NJ Spotlight - October 12th, 2021
- Ingham County health officer: COVID-19 is here to stay - WOODTV.com - October 12th, 2021
- Denby Fawcett: Covid-19 Can't Be Wiped Out But It Can Be Managed - Honolulu Civil Beat - October 12th, 2021
- Howard University Homecoming closed to alumni due to COVID-19 pandemic - FOX 5 DC - October 12th, 2021
- Is it COVID-19, the flu, or RSV? Doctor offers tips - NBC4 WCMH-TV - October 12th, 2021
- Two Bengals placed on reserve/COVID-19 list after playing Sunday - Acme Packing Company - October 12th, 2021
- Indiana sees decline in first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations - WANE - October 12th, 2021
- Boston Marathon organizer says 93 percent of participants are vaccinated against COVID-19 - Boston.com - October 12th, 2021
- When Will the Covid-19 Pandemic Be Over? - Gizmodo - October 12th, 2021
- How your emotional response to the COVID-19 pandemic changed your behavior and your sense of time - KUT - October 12th, 2021
- Amazon sued by warehouse workers over COVID-19 screening pay - Reuters - October 12th, 2021
- Fauci says he 'strongly suspects' that COVID-19 deaths will go down in the winter | TheHill - The Hill - October 10th, 2021
- Are COVID-19's big waves over? Experts are split | TheHill - The Hill - October 10th, 2021
- A look at major COVID-19 developments over the past week - The Atlanta Journal Constitution - October 10th, 2021
- Ivey extends limited COVID-19 health emergency to Oct. 31 - WIAT - CBS42.com - October 10th, 2021
- COVID-19 case rates remain high in Inland Northwest - The Spokesman Review - October 10th, 2021
- Johnson: Hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients 'doesn't mean there's some massive crisis' - Wisconsin Public Radio News - October 10th, 2021
- Onondaga County and Kinney Drugs to host COVID-19 booster clinic Thursday, October 14 - CNYcentral.com - October 10th, 2021
- So far this year, schools report far higher rates of COVID-19 in students, staff - WBUR - October 10th, 2021
- Learning the lessons of health care worker burnout from Covid-19- STAT - STAT - October 7th, 2021
- Explainer: What researchers say about the long-term effects of COVID-19 - Reuters - October 7th, 2021
- COVID-19 vaccine mandates pressure employees to get their ... - October 7th, 2021
- Public Health urges vaccination as COVID-19 metrics improve, expands booster shot clinic - Communications and Outreach - Communications and Outreach -... - October 7th, 2021
- DHHR reports active COVID-19 cases about the same - West Virginia MetroNews - October 7th, 2021
- Best Practices For Documenting The Covid-19 Vaccination Status Of Employees - Forbes - October 7th, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 474 total new cases; Death toll rises to 2,170; Active cases at 6,716 - KELOLAND.com - October 7th, 2021
- Here's how one college system kept Covid-19 cases down as they surged throughout the state - CNN - October 7th, 2021
- Hungary has offered help to Romania in treating COVID-19 patients - foreign ministry - Reuters - October 7th, 2021
- Minnesota to expand COVID-19 testing options in schools - Minnesota Public Radio News - October 7th, 2021
- Grant program in Chesapeake on wastewater tests for COVID-19 to possibly expand - 13newsnow.com WVEC - October 7th, 2021
- Onondaga County school switching to remote learning because of Covid-19 cases and quarantines - syracuse.com - October 7th, 2021
- Newest state workers face termination over COVID-19 mandates - The CT Mirror - October 7th, 2021
- NCDHHS: 70% of NC adults have received first dose of COVID-19 vaccine - WNCT - October 7th, 2021
- COVID-19 reinfection likely for the unvaccinated - WANE - October 7th, 2021
- Austin PD will start testing uniformed officers for COVID-19 every week - KXAN.com - October 7th, 2021
- WV Gov. Justice reads through 97 COVID-19 deaths Thursday, the most yet - WBOY.com - October 7th, 2021
- Should your vaccination status be on your resume? Heres what experts say - CNBC - October 7th, 2021
- Researchers say Hawaii Health Department officials have refused to share COVID-19 data - Honolulu Star-Advertiser - October 7th, 2021
- Health expert weighs in on where Washington stands in reaching COVID-19 herd immunity - KING5.com - October 7th, 2021
- Patchogue, NY Coronavirus Updates & News For September 29 - October 3rd, 2021