BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Mike Melancon has somewhat turned into a single parent the past month.
“Pretty unreal, never thought I would be here taking care of the baby by myself,” he said.
He and his wife, Stephanie, were expecting their first child together. Stephanie also has an 11-year-old daughter.
Gracie Melancon came into the world at Woman’s Hospital on April 2. Mother and daughter did great, so they were released and sent home that weekend.
“Then, by Tuesday, that was the 7th, I had to bring her to the hospital. She was running a 104.8 fever,” Melancon explained.
Stephanie Melancon was diagnosed with viral pneumonia and admitted back into Woman’s Hospital. Later that week, though, she tested positive for the coronavirus.
“It’s been 29 days now that she has been on the ventilator. She’s had some pretty rough days in between. They’ve had to extubate her and had to re-intubate her. Just this past Wednesday, they had to perform a tracheotomy to try to get her off of the ventilator,” Melancon added.
He was not able to see his wife due to the “no visitor” policy in place at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, he’s finally allowed to visit but he’s also got little Gracie to take care of.
He said his wife has now tested negative for the virus but it’s the after-effects she’s dealing with, such as difficulty breathing in her lungs and weakness in her entire body.
“It’s hard to communicate with her right now and with the trach in she can’t speak. She can try to mouth words, but I can’t understand much of what she is trying to say. She’s unable to write or anything else because of the muscle weakness in her body,” Melancon pointed out.
Stephanie has missed out bonding with her newborn, no breastfeeding, and missed her first Mother’s Day with Gracie. Instead, her older daughter made a poster that Mike was able to take to the hospital.
"She has her good and bad days. Yesterday [Mother’s Day] was kind of a down day. She was telling me that she wants to come home and she seemed kind of down,” Melancon noted.
She’s still only able to mouth things to Mike. He said the amazing staff at Woman’s Hospital puts the ventilator down to only 5% twice a day, meaning she’s breathing 95% on her own but she can’t do it very long. He figures it may be another month before Stephanie can return home because, not only does she need to learn to breathe on her own, she has to learn to walk again.
“Since she has been laying in the bed for 34 days, she has to have physical therapy to move. I would like to tell everybody that keep following precautions and stay home if you don’t have to be out because it can happen to anybody. I mean, we never thought in a million years that it would happen to us,” Melancon stated.
As Mike enjoys father-daughter time with now 5-week-old Gracie, he said he’s ready to get his wife home and life back to normal.
“She has missed out on a month already. Just praying that she can recover fast and get home to us,” he added.
Not knowing how much the medical bills will amount to and with both Mike and Stephanie out of work right now, the family does have a GoFundMe set up.
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