Ventilator Blues: An Interview with Sara C. Jacoby, A Covid-19 Positive Oklahoman

“We did everything we could…and we still got it.”

Those words from Oklahoma City resident Sara C. Jacoby struck a particular nerve with me. A self-avowed “over-masker,” around twenty-five days ago she was diagnosed with Covid-19, possibly from an area grocery store that, when she called to let them know, hung up on her. If this virus can attack someone like her, what chance do the rest of us have?

A politically-active stay-at-home mom with a young son and a younger daughter, since getting Covid-19 she said she feels like a “shit mom and a shit partner” that is becoming a regular fixture in the local emergency room as her oxygen levels drop dangerously low almost daily.

But, as she fights to breathe while in the worst state of her life, Jacoby has been posting constant messages about her fight with this virus on social media not just to remind herself that she’s still alive and kicking, but to provide ample warning to people about just how terrible living with this troubling virus is.

She spoke to me for a few minutes about her sickly struggle, one where a few minutes after we hung up, she was sent to the hospital once again.


Louis Fowler: You been rushed to the hospital numerous times over the past twenty or so days. How terrifying has it been since you learned you were positive for Covid-19?

Sara C. Jacoby: On day ten of this virus, I really thought I was dying. I thought that…this is not how I was supposed to go out. My mom died when I was nine…I don’t want to give my children that experience. But every time my oxygen levels get low, I have to go to the hospital.

When did you realize that you might have Covid-19?

People say this is the flu, but it’s not, at all. When I first started to feel sick, I was like “something’s different about this.” I thought at first it was allergies, but then a couple of days later my headache got so bad that I threw up so much it made my nose just bleed…I’m sure it traumatized my son to see that. It’s such a weird thing. I’m just not myself anymore.

I’ve never had a fever either…there’s a study that says that this virus is so sneaky that, for a lot of people, their bodies don’t recognize that they should be fighting this virus. Only one out of three people are presenting with fevers and I never had one…never.

 What’s going on with your body currently and what are some of your biggest fears about this?

The doctors told me I need to call 911 every time my oxygen levels get below 80. When you go into the hospital these days, it’s like you’re a celebrity, you don’t even have to wait in the waiting room. They just take you back there…it’s not fun. But my biggest fear was my kids being exposed and now they have it; the doctors said they’re in a Covid household so we’re going to assume they’re positive. A swab test for five year olds, sticking something up their nose, just isn’t feasible.


They’re so young…how are they dealing with this?

My son Henry has had a fever off and on, off and on, while my daughter Maggie has had diarrhea—she has two rare chromosome depletions, she has autism and epilepsy. Out of the two of them, she’s the last person to have something stuck up her nose. She was the one we were trying to protect the most…and now she has it.

Governor Stitt has invested $2 million in hydroxychloroquine. Would you ever take this so-called miracle cure if it was offered to you?

You know, I would do anything at this point if it would make me feel just a little bit better. I feel so awful…I feel like a shell of myself. Not sleeping and not eating really takes a toll on the body.

What would you like people, especially the anti-maskers and those that think this is a hoax, to know about this virus?

It’s. Fucking. Real. It’s fucking real. I always wore a mask. It’s one of those things…when I went out, I sprayed down my cart, I wore a mask, I used lots of sanitizer…who knows if I touched something and someone before me had it, who knows if I walked through when someone sneezed or coughed, who knows?

This isn’t getting better yet. I’m hoping over the next week, it’ll get better, but if it doesn’t…I’m shaking so much, I’m so anxious. This is not me. This isn’t how I should go out…this isn’t how I should go out.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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41 Responses

  1. Masks aren’t for your health, they are for everyone else’s. We should be overtly publicly shaming every person who does not wear a mask. If you can wear one and don’t, then you are an asshole. If you can’t wear one for health reasons and still go out in public, you are an asshole too. Everyone in public who is not wearing a mask is an asshole.

    1. Agreed! I am so tired of people complaining about their own comfort when they wear a mask.

      NOBODY is comfortable wearing a mask, ffs. Our individual comfort does not outweigh the importance of protecting the people around us from becoming sick.

      Sara likely became infected by some anti-mask asshole who thought it was their “right” to not wear it. What about Sara and her family’s rights to not get infected with this virus?

      So sick of the selfish, immature behavior of these garbage people. Just WEAR THE MASK.

    2. I wish I could give you more upvotes.

      Anyone who won’t put up with a bit of mask discomfort in the interest of protecting others because of some deranged idea about “freedom” is…

      Like you said.

      1. If you have the opportunity to possibly stop a deadly disease by wearing a mask what does it say about your character if you refuse to wear one? Where does your freedom to go mask free intersect with my freedom to live?

    3. Question – Prior to the commencement of your “Public Shaming” activity, how are you going to determine if this person happens to be someone who is exempt from wearing a mask?

      1. They didn’t. According to their post, if you’re in public, you should wear a mask. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t go out in public. It’s extreme, but it’s also likely the only way to not keep our growth rates increasing.

        1. That’s not always an option. There are instances where mask exempt individuals have to venture out (thus the CDC exemption list). It’s not my job (or theirs) to police your mask status. If you feel like you need to speak to management or local authorities then, by all means, go ahead, Karen. When I go out, which is rarely, I wear a mask and you won’t get within’ 6 ft of me. If you try, I’ll let you know. Your mask status is not my responsibility to verify or enforce. If I don’t feel comfortable, I stay home.

          1. Come on, I understand it’s the internet, and being contrarian is just part of some people’s affectation, but even if somebody is “mask exempt”, they can still wear a face shield. I mean, we are literally talking about life and death here, not about whether Harry Potter is better than Lord of the Rings.

            1. Trolls gonna troll.

          2. So actually trying to make sure that a deadly, very contagious virus isn’t spread any more than necessary by (mostly) total fucking assholes that have no regard for anybody else’s life (and are completely wrong about their rights being violated) is being a “Karen”? Nope, you’re wrong, it’s a citizen’s civic duty since none of our POS mask mandates have any enforcement teeth to them. If I see an unmasked person in a store, I will get management there to ask if they will wear a mask, can produce a doctor’s recommendation on why they can’t, or leave. If they won’t do any of that, I will call 911 since at that point, it’s trespassing.

            1. Lol well for one thing shopping at a store is a public venue. Your call to police is irrelevant. You don’t own store. Only person that can call is store owner or manager. And most mom and pop shops are going to ignore you and them. They need the business. And if you really think Walmart’s plan to keep the spread down is working think twice. All they have done is make sure everyone goes done every aisle and spend more through impulse buying. Then there’s the fact that many that they claim died of covid-19 didn’t die from it. First death here was elderly woman she died of a stroke. She was asymptomatic but was still listed as covid-19 death. Not natural causes/stroke. How many thousands have died of natural causes? That were asymptomatic but listed as covid-19 death! Just to balloon the number of deaths to create more panic!!

          3. I was only saying what he said, in case you couldn’t read what they clearly wrote.

            But to your point, I’m curious what situations exist in this day and age where you have to go out into a building where there aren’t other options. Utilities can be paid online. Groceries and restaurants can deliver and/or offer curbside pickup. And if you go into a hospital, they’re going to make you wear a mask. And if you don’t want to wear a mask (and if we’re really being honest, most exemptions just break down to “I don’t want to wear one because it’s not comfortable) face shields exist. So what situations still require that you go somewhere and where wearing something preventing you from breathing out droplets just isn’t available?

            And a Karen is a Karen because they have over the top reactions to meaningless things that don’t hurt anyone, like calling the police over a black family having a barbecue by a lake, not about asking people to wear a mask to limit the spread of a disease that’s killed over 150K people in six months.

            1. WRT to me, I have an upcoming trip to Lowe’s that I need to do in person. Matching paint colors, buying the proper size hooks for a stained glass window to hang from, getting some wire to splice with existing wire that I will bring with me to make sure it will work with it, and a few other things that just can’t be bought online without looking at them in person. There are other similar situations I’ve read about, sometimes you just have to go inside a store to get things in person (while wearing a mask, of course).

            2. Technically, you don’t have to do those things, though. You don’t have to go into a hardware store to buy things unless you have an actual emergency, like a burst pipe, that you have to fix. Otherwise, it’s optional.

              And if you don’t want to wear a mask, you could still have gotten a face shield to avoid it. So there are still options there.

              But I do get your point.

          4. I have Agoraphobia and anxiety. I can’t go out in public often due to an almost guaranteed panic attack. I’ve lived with this for 9 years. I’ve found ways to avoid going out unless it’s a dire emergency.

            Groceries can be delivered. Amazon Prime exists. Friends can go to stores and send pictures if there’ssomething that needs to be seen. When you’re in a position like that you figure it out. It sucks but it can be done.

            Those that won’t take the time to find ways to live around going out in public are choosing not to and are putting everyone at risk. It’s selfish, a violation of the social contract, and it’s deadly. They deserve any shame that comes to them.

            1. Someone shows up on my door step telling me their going to shove a stick up my nose and I don’t have a choice. They won’t have to worry about covid-19. Just a serious case of lead poisoning. Same if someone tries to tell me I can’t leave my home and do my day to day business. Coward’s all!!!

            2. Sorry to burst your bubble. Covid-19 can survive on cardboard and paper for up to 14 days, on plastic for up to 24 day’s and on a particle of pollution up to 48 hour’s while float around waiting to be inhaled……………………. All will have been infected and either lived or died. longbefore there’s a vaccination and/or enough for everyone.

      2. MASK EXEMPTION RULE: If you do not have a mouth or nose or lungs, you shall be exempt from wearing a mask. If you possess one or more of the three, however? MASK.

    4. It’s a real sign of our times that some people just can’t seem to realize this. Almost like doing something to help someone else simply doesn’t compute.

    5. Well one problem with that idea. All those who tote a pistol in their pocket. That aren’t quite all there! And those who just like to fight.
      Shamming someone is wrong in its self. It a form of mental abuse! Best to offer them a mask if they reject simple ask them to keep their distance from you for your and their safety. I wear a mask and always keep a couple extra in me car.
      Grow up folks! With Freedom comes great responsibility! It’s not just about your personal freedom. it’s about everyone’s freedom. Some sacrifices must be made by the individual to support the freedom of all.

  2. Yet our Governor is feeling good about things until we fill all hospital beds with people who believe they are possibly going to die. How about doing the stuff that keeps people out of the hospital?

  3. prayers Sara for you and your family!

  4. Great article Louis! Sharing stories like this will hopefully open a few eyes and minds.

  5. Quit bitching. Just wear the mask.

  6. Wear a mask big deal I do. But staying home and hiding while drawing unemployment, food stamps, and rent assistance is destroying our economy. There’s jobs out there. Almost every place I go has a help wanted signs. Might not be the job you want but it’s a job. Stop being coward’s! If you don’t the financial depression that’s coming! will kill million’s from starvation alone. I’ve already had it and yet here I am smoking a zombie haze fatty ALIVE AND WELL!

    1. Paul, we need people to stay home as much as they can. That is how we get Coronavirus under control. Shaming people for being responsible and staying home is counterproductive. No one should be risking their lives to make roast beef sandwiches for $7.50/hr. The financial depression we are living through right now is due to the federal government’s lack of a cohesive response to Coronavirus. If we had just had a national lockdown in March and April then we would look like Germany or South Korea right now as opposed to Brazil. Life could be mostly back to normal if we had competent leadership at a federal level, but instead we are stuck hoping for a vaccine.

      However, your lack of knowledge about this subject and your certainty that you are right is incredibly Oklahoman. Have you ever considered running for office? Stitt can’t be governor forever and your aversion to observable reality will make you a sweetheart to Oklahoma voters. You got lucky with Coronavirus. Not everyone is.

      1. And here we go the political troll. That listen but hears nothing. That speaks but says nothing.

        1. Geeze, you just accused someone else of listening but not hearing, man, the irony is just so cringe worthy.

      2. Slacker!

    2. From what I’ve read, the number of people looking for work weigh outnumber the viable jobs that are open.

      The truth is, none of those things are destroying our economy. Covid is. Covid destroys economies even when people do work (like Sweden). It destroys economics even when people are being brave. It’s not a normal depression, there’s an actual physical force that is driving it, and if that’s not fixed, our economy will suffer.

      And I’m glad that you’re alive and well, but this disease has killed 150,000 people nationwide in six months, and we still don’t really know for sure why some people get it so badly and others don’t. You may survive (though you’re likely not immune from getting it again), but the otherwise healthy 30 year old pregnant woman who died from it over the weekend wasn’t so lucky.

      1. That is nature it is harsh and unforgiving. Survival of the fittest. So we can choose to hide and wait for it or live life. But a great depression will kill million’s. So hide tell it comes for you if you want. Or live life wear mask if you’re sick stay home wash your hands frequently. But it will get all sooner or later.

        1. The economic depression comes whether we intentionally expose ourselves or not. We’ve already seen this play out in the real world. Sweden shut nothing down, trusting it’s citizens to act reasonably. Neighboring countries had harsh lockdowns. The end result? Sweden had a much higher death rate than neighboring countries AND it’s economy retracted the same statistically as neighboring countries. They had no benefit whatsoever to not locking down.

          So either we attempt to decrease the spread so that medical services aren’t overwhelmed and more people survive, or we adopt the “economy first!” mantra and the recession comes anyways.

          Your way just kills people faster, and I really find myself skeptical in the whole “a depression will kill millions more!” claim in the first place. Where does that come from? How do we know a temporary shut down is worse than removing hundreds of thousands of people from the economy forever?

          There’s a difference in being brave and being reckless, and there’s a difference between being smart and being scared.

          1. The thing is, shutting down is only useful if it’s followed by other actions, like massive testing and tracing. That’s why our initial shutdown was a waste of time, our current president just refuses to do anything, I guess we all know how Puerto Rico felt now, he wouldn’t lift a finger for them, and he won’t for us now.

            As it stands now, shutting down again would just be another waste of time. I guess we have to muddle along until he’s hopefully voted out, and a new president takes over in January, and does something, anything. If he wins, well, I guess we sit around for four more years of this, listening to him give himself perfect scores for how he’s handling it, as Americans continue to die.

  7. So tired of people not taking this thing seriously. The virus has already sledgehammered apart families, friends and generations as we sit isolated and in fear. It’s taken further by idiots not willing to sacrifice their social lives. Before you see anyone, you must think about where they’ve been and what they’ve done. I’m not going near whoever wants to put themselves and others at risk, no matter who they are.

  8. I’d post it the right way but,,,,,,,,, “The Mask Slackers of 1918” Free read and kind of interesting as well.
    A hundred years of assholes.

  9. Would like to see an update. Hope she makes it. Sounds horrible.

  10. It’s not going away. Vaccinations are at minimum a year away. By then this nation will be in a worse depression than the last one. which by the way was caused in large by the Spanish flu. Only difference A few million more mouths to feed. Would you not give our life to be sure your children didn’t starve to death? I would but unlike most I can grow my own vegetables, Catch fish, hunt all manner of game. Most can’t and when the store shelves go empty as well as your wallet what will you do. Don’t come ask me I have my own family to look out for.

    1. Kansas flu not Spanish flu

    2. The Great Depression of 1929 was not caused by the 1918 flu outbreak. The economy underwent a massive expansion in the 1920s, culminating in the stock market crash of 1929.

      1. Still doesn’t change the fact hiding is useless. When and if a vaccine is found. A million doses at first? There’s 330,000,000 that need it just here in the US. Almost 8 billion world wide. Big picture folk’s not your little box of a world.
        Why is China numbers so low? They lied! They told the world they weren’t going to share virus/flu A-B information over a year ago. Why because covid-19 was already spreading in their country. Most of their citizens have already had it. August 8 China had 23 new cases. ??? Our government lies to us daily. And it’s not one sided. Lies are distributed equally among them. EA Republican’s Democrat’s and independent’s. And who controls CDC not you or I. Who controls the media not you or I. It’s all a shit show just to control us all.

  11. Wish it was Patrick not Sara, she’s nice and doesn’t constantly gas-light people trying to make a difference. Oh well.

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