Parents of special needs son battle COVID-19

Being ill with coronavirus may have been the easiest thing Amy Waters dealt with this spring.

The 56-year-old Luling resident is a teacher at Hahnville High School. When schools closed in March she began working from home, and in less than two weeks she became ill.

“I had been showing symptoms of a sinus infection,” she said. “I had no fever and no cough.”

Because she has always suffered from severe allergies and asthma, Waters was prescribed an antibiotic and other medication to treat a sinus infection.

Meanwhile, her husband – who wished to not be named – also became sick.

Initially Waters said she and her husband did not qualify to be tested for coronavirus because they didn’t display enough of the classic symptoms.

“Being an asthmatic, I kind of freaked out because that’s who was dying,” she said. “There are no ‘right’ symptoms … we’re proof of it.”

Finally the couple was able to get tested on March 31.

“They were saying three to five days for results,” Waters said. “By the time I got the results six days later I was fine … my cough lasted a total of three days.”

Even though she was feeling better, Waters was busy with caring for her husband and their 25-year-old son Matthew, who is severely mentally handicapped.

“Once we were diagnosed, we were regularly meeting online with our doctor and she was keeping very, very close watch on us and checking in with us daily,” Waters said.

But her husband started feeling worse as his symptoms only intensified.

“He had it pretty bad,” she said. “He ran a fever for about twelve days.”

Her husband’s symptoms grew to include experiencing no sense of taste or smell, lethargy, fever, intestinal problems and shortness of breath.

“It was horrible,” she said. “He wouldn’t eat and he was sleeping 20 hours a day … he moved from the chair in the living room to the bed and would stop at the bathroom on the way … that was it.”

Waters worried about Matthew contracting the virus.

“I had no place for me to send my son for him to quarantine and there’s no way to keep a distance from him,” she said.

The couple’s daughter Maggie, 27, quarantined away from the family for three weeks.

“She kept us supplied with everything we needed,” Water said. “We would have been in trouble without her.”

Matthew never ran a fever or had a cough, but Waters said he did complain about headaches.

“He’s not able to articulate what his symptoms are,” she said. “It’s very difficult for us to understand when he is sick.”

After learning of the couple’s diagnosis, Matthew’s weekend caretaker chose to take a break from working with him. Waters said it was a blessing that his weekday caretaker continued to visit the home.

Matthew wasn’t able to understand why Waters needed to keep her distance from him, and also didn’t comprehend why she was home but still had to spend so much time on the computer for work.

“He wound up having several meltdowns because change does not work well for him,” she said. “Although he was very happy to have me home.”

Waters said as life is returning to normal again and everyone is feeling healthier, Matthew is finding joy in things he’s used to.

“He was so excited he got to go to Goodwill yesterday,” Waters said with a chuckle. “He loves thrift stores.”


About Monique Roth 919 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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