Raymond family update: Faith pushing family through battle with COVID
January 27, 2021
As of Monday, January 25, Phillips County has had a total of 464 positive COVID-19 cases. 432 of those cases had recovered, and there were only 19 active cases. One of those cases has been active since Monday, November 30.
"It is completely eye-opening to see the number of people in the ICU due to COVID," Malta's Trinity Raymond told the PCN. "I think that our community has been pretty fortunate. We have had some deaths, which is extremely heartbreaking. What I want people to realize is that it is a real thing. And it is scary. It has completely changed our lives."
Trinity's husband of 16 years, Bryan Raymond of Malta, is in intensive care and has been since before Christmas of 2020. They are currently at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, Colo., and the couple is hoping and praying for the healing of his lungs.
Bryan has been in Denver since Thursday, January 7. Prior to his flight to Denver, he was in the intensive care unit in Billings on December 9.
He first tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, November 30. He was flown from Malta to Billings due to lung issues.
According to Trinity, Bryan needed high flow oxygen. He was treated with convalescent plasma and Remdesiver.
December 17, Trinity received a phone call at their home in Malta stating that Bryan was having trouble breathing even with the high flow oxygen. At that point, Bryan needed to be intubated.
Trinity was told that Bryan would benefit from the use of an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (EMCO).
According to medlineplus.gov, ECMO is a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream of a very ill (person).
The treatment is used to help support a person who is awaiting a heart or lung transplant.
The ECMO machine helps to take carbon dioxide out of the patient's blood before placing fresh oxygenated blood back into the patient.
"It gives his lungs a chance to rest," Trinity said.
Trinity also said that during his time at the Billings Hospital, doctors had been trying to send Bryan to another state in order to better solve his needs, but at the time no beds were open. Bryan's bout with Multiple Sclerosis was a secondary reason hospitals were refusing him.
Billings Hospital currently has only eight nurses with training to run the ECMO machine.
"They weren't accepting him, which was hard," Trinity said. "It was so amazing to see the Billings staff pull together and break my fear of them not having enough staffing."
On Tuesday, January 5, Trinity had received a call from a lung transplant doctor in Denver stating that a bed had opened up for Bryan.
"He said that even though they are an ECMO center, they are only capable of taking three COVID patients," Trinity said.
Seeking the possibility of a lung transplant, Bryan was flown out to Denver on January 7.
Before leaving Billings, Bryan was able to text Trinity, sit up and have conversations. This included FaceTime sessions on Christmas Day so that Bryan could see his children open up presents.
"We were having more good days than bad days," Trinity said. "But we still weren't seeing improvement in his lungs."
To this day, Bryan's lungs still haven't been healing on their own, so a lung transplant is necessary, but in order for a transplant, four requirements have to be met.
Number one, Bryan needs to test negative for COVID-19. Currently, Bryan's body is not making antibodies to fight the virus. Number two, Bryan needs to be able to walk 300 feet. Number three his other organs need to stay healthy and functioning. And number four, Bryan would need to be weaned off of sedation. In past weeks, Bryan has suffered from ICU delirium, and when the sedation is adjusted, he becomes anxious.
For those praying, Trinity asks that they continue to pray for his lungs to heal and that his COVID-19 tests will come back negative.
A negative test would mean that Trinity and their children could visit Bryan safely and without full PPE.
"We are relying on faith and praying for a miracle that his lungs will heal," Trinity said. "Either way, we have a long road ahead of us."
Last Wednesday, Bryan had sat at the foot of his bed for the first time since December 17, Trinity said, which was a big step.
Various groups and companies around the county have been showing their support to the Raymond family.
"The community has been great," Trinity told the PCN. "We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone."
Donations can be made at the First State Bank of Malta.