“I can’t thank Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital enough for all they did for me when I had COVID.”
- Olivia Moctezuma
In March 2020, Olivia Moctezuma wasn’t feeling well. She developed a fever and experienced chills along with a cough and shortness of breath.
At the urging of her doctor, Olivia went to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital emergency department, checking in at the registration tent outside for assessment.
Olivia was quickly admitted to the ICU where the diagnosis of COVID-19 was confirmed. Safety guidelines prohibited visitors, so Olivia could only communicate with her family via a phone app. The next day, she sent this text to her husband, Jose: “I’m sorry, my love, lots of pain and no more energy. They are going to intubate me.” Jose replied, “I love you. Get better.”
Olivia was in a unit established for isolation of COVID-19 care. These specialized units have negative pressure airflow to prevent infectious particles from escaping the unit, as well as dedicated staff trained specifically for the isolation unit.
Olivia was sedated and breathing with the aid of a ventilator, for the next several weeks. “It was the scariest time of my life,” said Jose, “but I knew Cottage was the best place she could be, and I kept hoping and praying.”
Though her family couldn’t visit in person, Olivia did not go through her illness alone. A team of nurses, physicians, other clinicians and support staff cared for Olivia during her lengthy hospitalization.
After Olivia regained consciousness, Jose was able to see her again on a video call. Then, he said, “I knew she was going to be alright.” Olivia spent two more weeks in the hospital and was transferred to Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital to continue her recovery and regain strength before going home.
As she left the hospital, caregivers, doctors and staff lined the hall to cheer her on.
“My healthcare team at Cottage was amazing,” Olivia said. “Words can’t describe how much I appreciate them.”