TRIBUTES ARE A DIRECT DONATION TO CARING BRIDGE, NOT TO ERIK. IF YOU WANT ERIK TO RECEIVE, PLEASE DO NOT SELECT TRIBUTE OR DONATE, INSTEAD GO TO HIS GO FUND ME SITE. His friends started a Go Fund Me page for his medical expenses and recovery process. This will be a long road to recovery, but we all know how strong he is! You can find Erik’s GoFundMe under the section that says ways to help. Or click here: https://gf.me/u/yqnis4
If you want to receive a text or email when we make updates, you can set up a free account and select that, or just revisit this site. In the journal updates, you will see updates from me (mom) and Erik's best friend in PA, Matt Thomas.
Erik was diagnosed with Covid19 on Tuesday, August 11th. His symptoms began on Saturday, August 8 after he returned to Pennsylvania after a long work rotation. He rode it out at home, quarantined, but by Thursday, August 13, he started having trouble breathing and drove himself to the ER at Lancaster General in Lancaster, PA. The hospital called me (mom) and said his oxygen levels were dangerously low, he was admitted to ICU and they started him on oxygen. Within a few hours, his levels kept dropping and they put him on a ventilator. (They have learned a lot about the use of ventilators in the treatment of Covid by now, and it was absolutely necessary at this point. ) At this point, he thought he would be on it for a couple days and still be okay. He did give permission for a few experimental treatments to be used if necessary. However, his oxygen levels continued to rapidly drop and a scan of his lungs indicated extreme inflammation. The virus was rapidly attacking his lungs and preventing any oxygen from getting in, his oxygen level was down to 78% and his organs were be affected. This all was happening within the course of hours, and the doctor confirmed this is common in Covid. They called again and got permission to put him on the ECMO* machine, which is the last line of defense for the most critically ill. The doctor said, he would not have made it had he come in any later. It was at this point, we put it out on social media, as we knew that continued prayers and healing energy were paramount to his survival.
We are so grateful he was in Pennsylvania, with access to hospitals that were not over run, and had months of experience in dealing with Covid.
*Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation removes blood from the central vessels in a patient's body, circulates it through an artificial lung, oxygenates it, and delivers the blood back into the bloodstream. It requires a multidisciplinary team of specially trained medical personnel. It is usually used in cases of heart or lung failure, and during heart surgery. It is currently replacing the natural functions of his heart and lungs, allowing them to begin to heal.
The procedure was successful and his oxygen levels shot back to 100%. He was still on the ventilator, also. The machines are used in concert where they can ebb and flow the use to determine how his lungs are healing without placing him in danger. We also approved the use of the two treatments Erik had already been briefed on: Remdesivir and Antibody Plasma. They began the test drug Remdesivir, which has had good results with the critically ill. The next day, the gave him a dose of the Antibody Plasma. This is where they take the antibodies from people who have already healed from Covid and use them to help boost the new patient's ability to fight the virus. Plasma Donation centers are set up around the country and we are so grateful to all the people who donate to them.
The doctor explained that the virus can move around and attack other organs. At this point, it seems to have only attacked his lungs, which is a blessing. His young age, his will to live and determination are important assets he has to facilitate his full recovery. He has his own 24/7 dedicated nurse in the ICU that is constantly monitoring his vitals and his comfort. You must be heavily sedated (medically induced coma) to have these types of machines helping you. This protects them from the pain and discomfort they are constantly in, and prevents the patient from moving around. (These tubes are very large). I speak with the doctor daily and the nurses numerous times during the day. They are tremendously caring individuals and Erik is blessed to have them in his corner. He is awake for brief periods between drug doses and they can receive indications from him, squeeze of hand, blink of eyes. We know he can probably hear a lot of what is going on.
The next step of the journey is a waiting game. People can usually be on the ECMO for a few weeks, while they begin to heal. It is a delicate balance. The virus will be gone in a certain number of days, but it is the lingering affect on the organs that slows the healing process.
Because it's Covid, no visitors are allowed. However he Erik can receive cards, letters, flowers, posters - however when he is released, they will all be thrown away since he is in an isolation unit. His nurses have promised they will decorate his room with whatever comes his way, and read aloud to him every card and letter. If you feel so inclined you can write to this address.
Erik Diederich / Room 6622
555 N. Duke Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
I am able to be connected to him daily with a video conferencing app they have at the hospital. This has proved immensely valuable for my own well being. Each room in the ICU has a designated iPad and I log in a few times a day and spend a few hours with him. I believe he can hear me (tho he cannot see) and is always heavily sedated, but I have been letting him know what has and is happening, reading him prayers, telling him about all of you and all the prayers and love that is coming his way. I also sing him songs and have started reading him some short stories. I constantly remind him of his strength, and his bodies miraculous healing abilities, while reassuring him that he will get out of this soon, and be FULLY RECOVERED.
Please continue to pray for him and picture Erik in your own heart and head as VIBRANT, in FULL HEALTH, with HEALTHY LUNGS taking DEEP BREATHS. We appreciate all the prayers and positive healing you are sending to Erik, please keep it up!