MCALLEN (KVEO) — The road to recovery is going to be a long one for Erika Calderon, but her 15-year-old son is making sure she gets all of the help she needs.
Emilian Sosa, Erika’s son, reached out everywhere he could in January to get the proper treatment for his mother, who was falling into critical condition from a COVID-19 diagnosis.
“COVID-19 did great damage to my mom’s lungs, they have not been able to recover ever since,” Emilian Sosa told KVEO in January.
But after writing a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and receiving an outpour of community support, Sosa was able to secure his mom the support she needs.
“[Governor Abbott] told us he’s gonna help us and find the available seating for her and get her on a medical flight to Houston,” recalled Sosa.
The medical treatment need for Calderon is called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy (ECMO).
“You have to put a large catheter in a person’s main blood vessels. You bring the blood out of the body, you run it through this machine that puts oxygen into the blood, and takes out the carbon dioxide,” said Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority. “Then it puts it back in the body, it’s basically an artificial lung that’s outside the body.”
This treatment was not available in the Rio Grande Valley and the family did not possess the means to transport Calderon to a location that did. Thankfully, the governor stepped in to help.
The governor helped get Calderon transported to the Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston through a flight.
Calderon has received the treatment for two weeks. Sosa states that it will take at least five to six months for signs of a full recovery, but there are bright signs of hope.
“She’s still in critical condition, but they’ve managed to stable her, which is good,” said Sosa. “There are obstacles that might not let her recover or progress like she’s supposed to. She started opening her eyes and squeeze her hand. We’re taking it day by day.”
While Calderon is still unconscious, Sosa spends Monday through Friday communicating with her through Zoom. COVID-19 regulations prevent Sosa from seeing his mother in person.
Sosa is Calderon’s only child and is handling a lot of the matters surrounding his mother. He expressed sadness at his mom not being there for his 15th birthday on February 3.
While the situation is grim and is going to take a long time to complete, Sosa states he is thankful for the support he’s received across the nation.
“I’m really thankful to everyone who made this possible to reach the governor,” said Sosa. “To everybody that helped us, even outside the state, we made this possible and we were able to help my mom have another chance.”
However, he says his mom is not aware of the support she’s received due to her condition. He expects her to react positively when she learns of all the help that has come her way.
After seeing the toll this virus took on his mother, Sosa doesn’t think the nation did enough to control COVID-19 when it first began. He would like to see people continue to take precautions until the pandemic is eradicated.
Additionally, he has a newfound view of medical care.
He believes more should be done to diversify hospitals by providing doctors and nurses fluent in multiple languages, not just English and Spanish, so that anyone seeking medical treatment will not have that barrier.
He also hopes that medical technology and treatments will be made available to everywhere that needs it and not just large cities.
Sosa is thankful for the numerous donations on the GoFundMe fundraiser he set up and is still seeking donations.
The GoFundMe can be found here.