PHOENIX - Roles were seemingly reversed in December when Amanda O’Brien’s 70-year-old grandfather, a former firefighter, came down with COVID-19.
"I went to their place to help get him to the hospital and I have never seen someone that ill or that sick. He couldn’t even recognize me which was the scariest thing," O'Brien said.
Her grandfather Wayne Means, who worked for years as a driver with Phoenix Fire at Station 48, started showing COVID-19 symptoms back on Dec. 9.
A few weeks later, he took a turn for the worse as his oxygen levels began to rapidly drop.
"My grandma was checking his oxygen and every hour it dropped below 90 so she rushed him to the hospital," O'Brien said.
That’s where Means spent his 70th birthday and Christmas, in the hospital, developing pneumonia related to COVID -19.
He became so weak to the point that he almost needed a ventilator, O'Brien said, adding, "You haven’t always heard good stories about people coming off of a ventilator so we were like praying, trying to tell close family and friends what was going on."
Those prayers were answered a few days after Christmas when he got to come home. He showed his granddaughter a thing or two about setting up his oxygen tank.
"We were unloading him and he was showing me, 'This is how you do it,'" O'Brien said.
Her advice to the community is to take COVID-19 seriously, saying, "Wear a mask, cover nose and mouth, not just for yourself but to protect others."