A Holy Name Medical Center nurse who made a full coronavirus recovery has returned to work in time to spend her upcoming wedding anniversary at the hospital with her husband, whom she met there 14 years ago.
Hawthorne's Lori Van Bever was beginning the process of converting the hospital's pulmonary/respiratory unit into a 28-bed coronavirus unit when her symptoms began.
The mom of three came home Friday, March 20 with a headache feeling exhausted.
She thought she was just feeling the effects of working 14-hour shifts, but when she awoke in the middle of the night with a fever and full-body chills, Van Bever knew exactly what it was: Coronavirus.
"I was prepared for it to be positive," said Van Bever, the nurse manager of her unit.
And so, she called Holy Name and went in Saturday, March 21 to be tested, then went right home to set up a quarantine zone in her bedroom.
Her husband, David Van Bever -- Holy Name's director of environmental and transport services -- took the weekend off to care for her.
"No one was coming in or out," the 42-year-old nurse said. "My husband or my kids would leave me food or water at the door if I wanted anything."
Van Bever said the next few days were "the absolute worst."
"I had never felt that sick before," she said. "I don’t normally get sick.
"Between the nausea, lack of taste and not wanting to eat anything, the body aches and the fever -- I couldn’t get comfortable. No matter where I sat or what I did.
"The pain was intense."
By Monday, Van Bever's fever was gone, but she was nauseous and having diarrhea through Wednesday.
"I had a little bit of shortness of breath but no cough," she said, "which is amazing."
Finally, on Thursday, things were looking up.
Although she tired easily, Van Bever felt well enough to eat and start moving around.
Most of all, she felt ready to go back to work.
"I felt like I’m the leader and home with this, and [my nurses] are there," she said.
"I needed to get back -- I wanted to get back."
She waited the full 72 hours before returning to work on Wednesday, April 1.
"Last night I was exhausted," Van Bever told Daily Voice Thursday. "It was bittersweet. I was happy to see everyone and see the changes that have been made on the unit."
She was happy to see that plastic was placed over door frames, so nurses and doctors can see the patients they're caring for.
"It’s amazing to see how quickly something can get turned around and people adjust," the nurse said. "Everything is working so efficiently. This place is just different, it really is.
"People are stepping up and doing remarkable things."
Van Bever isn't afraid of getting sick again. She wears her mask and face shield with pride, and considers herself lucky that her case was much milder that those of her patients.
“It is scary, but we get through this," the nurse said.
"You come out stronger in the end and just want to show people you do get better. You do return to work.
"I’m so proud of everything that’s been accomplished here at Holy Name Medical Center and I couldn’t wait to get back here to help."
On April 18, Van Bever and her husband will celebrate their 11th anniversary. They plan on spending it at the hospital.
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