WILLCOX—He thought it was a cold. It wasn’t.
He thought it would pass. It didn’t.
He was vaccinated. This couldn’t be COVID.
Or could it?
Mayor Mike Laws of Willcox is now fine and back on the job. After going a round with a serious bout of coronavirus, Laws is happy to be standing up and breathing. He credits the staff at Northern Cochise Community Hospital for saving his life. Here he recounts his experience.
It began in the middle of October, when Laws just felt sick. No coughing, no skyrocketing temperature, no loss of taste or smell.
“I went to the doctor, didn’t have any signs (of anything bad),” Laws said. “I felt sick so they gave me the z-pak and a steroid shot for allergies. Went home. For the first day, it just totally went away.” A z-pak contains azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
“The next day it got worse; the next day (was) really bad,” Laws said.
With his wife out of town, Laws said he slept for two days. When she came home and saw his condition, she called their nurse neighbor over to take a look at the patient.
“She comes over. She goes, ‘Oh my gosh! Get him up; get him in the car; let’s get him to the hospital,’ ” Laws said.
“Honestly, he was gray,” Revonda Laws said. “He would have just fallen asleep and not even woke up.”
Though he resisted, Revonda Laws dropped her husband off at the emergency room at NCCH. She could not go in with him.
Was she afraid? Maybe not so much.
“I’m a prayer person,” she said. “I just knew he was going to be OK. He’s going to be in good hands. I never thought the worst.”
Seven hours later, a disoriented Laws was diagnosed with COVID-pneumonia. “(It was) bad. The worst it gets,” he said. Laws was admitted, and the next day, turned 70.
Soon after, however, he improved.
“Two days in there I started feeling a lot better,” Laws said. “On day five I told them, ‘I feel so good I’m ready to go home.’
His nurse invited him to take a short walk down the hall.
“She took me down the hall and walked me about 20 feet, 30 feet,” Laws said. “She said, ‘All right. Let’s walk the other way.’ I said, ‘Let’s not.’ ”
Laws said he was totally winded. However, the day after that he was well enough to be discharged, though even these few months later, he has to sometimes use oxygen at night and still gets winded.
“According to the doctor, this is going to be with me for 15 months,” Laws said.
Now that it’s mostly over, Revonda Laws looks back with some amount of peace.
“I was nervous, and there’s that what if?” she said. “I relied on prayer. I put him on the prayer chain. My belief is do what I can to improve the situation. If I can’t, I’ve got to let it go to someone who can. I had faith in our hospital. I’m not saying I wasn’t fearful but mostly I just knew he was going to come home and be OK. I truly believe they took good care of him.”
Laws believes the staff at NCCH took excellent care of him and credits the care with saving his life.
“My third day in there, somebody come into my room — it was a man — and said, ‘Mayor, I’ve arranged for transportation to get you to Tucson Medical Center. I think you will probably have better care there.’ I looked him right in the eye and said, ‘Nope ... This is the best place I can be right now. I’m not going anywhere ... They’re taking care of me here.’ I was getting so much better so fast. I can’t say enough about the staff that was assigned to me.”
Today, despite contracting the virus, Laws believes that getting the COVID vaccine should be an individual’s choice.
“I want (people) to do what they want to do,” Laws said. “If you are a true believer in vaccinations, then you go get it. If you’re a non-believer, I’m not going to make you.”