As Schuylkill Haven High School assistant vice principal and assistant athletic director, Dennis Siket felt it was important that he and his family take COVID-19 precautions seriously. He, his wife and their two daughters always wore masks, practiced social distancing and did whatever they could to keep the virus at bay. However, the week of Thanksgiving he and his daughters experienced cold-like symptoms.
“Most of our symptoms were mild – sore throats, headaches and an upset stomach,” says Dennis. “We tested positive and figured that we would just have to quarantine and ride it out,” he says.
While his daughters recovered quickly, Dennis’ symptoms worsened. He developed a high fever, cough and extreme nausea. His wife, Janelle, took him to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill, where doctors determined his oxygen levels were still good. They gave him intravenous fluids and said he could recover at home.
Unfortunately, once home Dennis’ condition continued to decline. “I couldn’t get him to eat or drink, and he literally couldn’t get out of bed. I knew he needed to be admitted, so I called the hospital and they told me to bring him in. That was the last time we saw him for over three weeks,” says Janelle.
On Dec. 2, Dennis was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at LVH–Schuylkill and was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia, which meant that COVID-19 had spread through his lungs. Although he didn’t need to be intubated, Dennis received oxygen and was placed in the prone position, on his stomach, for up to 16 hours a day to increase his oxygen flow.
The most difficult part for his family was the uncertainty. “We weren’t allowed to visit, but the nurses were great. I would call, and they would know right who I was and give us updates. It was so hard because he just wanted to come home,” says Janelle.
Although doctors said he could use more time in the hospital, Dennis got his wish to be released from the ICU to the care of home health care on Dec. 24.