A South Carolina Nursing Student, 30, Dies Of Covid-19

Joshua Bush

Joshua Bush worked as a nursing assistant. His wife tells his story.

Today, our Wake-Up Call newsletter is telling the story of Joshua Bush, a beloved nursing student, husband, and son, who died at age 30 from Covid-19 in South Carolina.

Joshua Bush was a natural caregiver. His passion for the medical field developed when visiting an uncle with a health condition that required around-the-clock care.

“He started really paying attention to what the nurses were doing and their technique,” Joshua’s wife LaKita told us. “He’d ask… ‘What are you doing? How are you doing it? Why are you doing it? And how’s that going to help him?’ From there, he always wanted to be a nurse.”

That passion led Joshua to work as a nursing assistant for years — and he recently entered nursing school at the University of South Carolina, Aiken. Joshua, 30, was passionate about his work, his studies, his wife, and his family. But his life was tragically cut short, when he passed away from Covid-19 complications on April 17th.

Joshua and LaKita would have been married five years this month. Their love story almost didn’t happen — after long chats online, where the two realized they had a zest for travel and curiosity in common, they finally settled on a first date. The problem? LaKita had to drive her mom to the airport… and ended up arriving five hours late for their meeting. “He never let me forget that,” LaKita told us. But, of course, the date still happened, and the couple was married just a few years later.

Their marriage was marked by love, partnership— and laughter. “He was so funny,” LaKita said. One of his frequent bits was to tell people to put things on top of their head and look at his wife, without acting like anything was out of the ordinary. He’d do it himself, sometimes with a pillow. “He’d just stare at me to see how long it would take for me to say something to him or pull it off,” she remarked.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, both Joshua and LaKita took precautions. They both worked in the health care industry in Aiken, S.C., and made sure to wash their hands, sanitize surfaces, and be careful about who they came in contact with. But in late March, they both began exhibiting symptoms.

LaKita’s symptoms were relatively mild, with a congestion she initially attributed to allergies. Likewise, Joshua was experiencing sinus issues — but as the week went on, LaKita told us, “he just started not really feeling like himself. He was sleeping all day. He really wasn’t eating.” They began to worry he might have Covid-19. The couple reached out to a local hospital, which referred them to the local health department, which set up a telehealth appointment. Joshua was told he had the flu, and was prescribed Tamiflu. But his symptoms continued to worsen, and he was admitted to the hospital on Saturday, April 4, where he was determined to have Covid-19.

“That was the last time I saw him alive,” LaKita told us. “From there, it was a slow decline. There was a glimmer of hope that he might pull through… But they ended up putting him on a ventilator. They had to end up running dialysis on him because his body had started shutting down.” The hospital was “really good” about keeping LaKita informed about his status, and his mother was able to visit — the hospital helped her put on a gown and protective gear. But on April 17th, the family got the call that Joshua had died.

The immediate family has been able to organize a small service, and plans to have a larger memorial at a later date, where Joshua’s friends and colleagues can pay their respects.

We spoke with LaKita in late April, as various states began discussing plans to reopen. “It does kind of break my heart a little bit… This is not anything to play with. I wouldn’t wish the pain I feel for my husband right now, and the pain that his mom feels right now, on our worst enemy. I just wish more people would understand that.”

She added, “We hear numbers on the news every day about the number of cases and the number of deaths. There are people behind these numbers. There are mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, spouses, real people losing their lives. We just want people to take precaution.”

Our hearts are with LaKita and Joshua’s loved ones at this time.

This originally appeared on Medium.com