RIVER FOREST, Ill. (WGN) — Still reeling from the death of his 72-year-old mother, Patrick Brent sat down at his computer to document in stark detail the last conversation he had with her as she battled COVID-19.
“She described the pain as feeling her body was on fire or being stabbed with hot needles, and morphine and a host of other serious painkillers did almost nothing to lessen her agony when awake,” he wrote in a Facebook post Sunday.
Jan Brent, a wife, mother and retired River Forest preschool teacher, died two days before Thanksgiving.
Her husband of 47 years, retired Cook County judge and prosecutor David Brent, was also positive for COVID-19. Despite being 75 and having the same risk factors, he had no symptoms.
Patrick Brent said his mother was in severe respiratory distress for days while in the hospital and was eventually sent home on hospice. He said according to his father, she never stopped moving because of the pain.
“She was waking up at night, and she would be awake for anywhere from seven to 10 hours, and the entire time she was having terrifying hallucinations and delusions and was in so much pain,” Patrick Brent said.
After she died, he shared the raw account of her death hoping it could help others. In it, he said her last words “will haunt me forever.”
As she struggled to breathe, he said she pleaded with him to take COVID-19 seriously, saying: “Do everything you can to protect yourselves…I don’t want anyone I love to go through this…I love you.”
Patrick Brent said his Facebook post eventually spread around the world.
“I’ve received messages from people in Australia, from India, from Germany, from all over the world expressing their frustration,” he said.
He hopes by sharing the story of his mother’s horrific experience, it will prompt others to follow her call to take the virus seriously and be more careful.
“People are talking about the vaccine. That’s not the silver bullet. We have a long road ahead of us,” he said. “We are on a path to destruction if we can’t get this thing under control.”