On a recent Thursday night, Savannah Lintz of Bay City sits at a table in front of her living room window, sewing face masks. Her partner Andrew plays behind her with their boys Max, 2, and Lucas, 1, and the family dog. A pair of thin oxygen tubes snakes across the floor, trailing behind the boys as they roll and scamper around.
A year and four months ago, Lucas was born at 22 weeks with amniotic band syndrome, weighing barely over a pound. It had come down to a choice between Lucas’s life and Savannah’s. And the emergency C-section that delivered Lucas was the result of a last-minute decision to stop Savannah’s bleeding and give her her best chance of survival.
But Lucas made it too. He’s spent about half of his past year of life in the hospital. He still needs oxygen and a feeding tube and deals with chronic respiratory issues. But he’s here.
So Savannah and Andrew are used to worrying and taking precautions, because “a cold or a flu could kill Lucas.” They’re used to doing everything that authorities are recommending people do now in response to the coronavirus, and they wish the general public would take those recommendations more seriously—”for themselves but also for kids like Lucas who already had to fight just to be here today.”
In the meantime, Savannah is ready to step up and give back to the same nurses and healthcare workers who saved her and Lucas’s lives.
“We’ve become friends with nurses in NICU who still keep up with Lucas to this day,” says Savannah. “Even a year after he’s been out of the NICU, his nurses are still saying, ‘Hey, keep him home. Hey, how’s he doing?’” Sewing masks, when it became clear that local hospitals needed them, was something that Savannah “knew immediately [she] had to do.”
If being more cautious and considerate than the average person is nothing new to Savannah and Andrew, then what is new—and uniquely scary—to the couple is how the coronavirus has overwhelmed unprepared communities. “There are hospitals choosing who’s living and who’s dying, right here in Michigan,” she says, flatly. “It’s not an easy spot to be in.”
They would know. They already chose once.
Bay City, MI