I Lost My 22-Year-Old Husband To Covid-19

Krystal Lopez

Israel Sauz was a new dad. His wife shares his story.

Today, our Wake-Up Call newsletter is telling the story of Israel Sauz, a devoted husband and new father, who died after fighting the coronavirus in Oklahoma.

Krystal Lopez met Israel Sauz in their high school English class in 2016. He sat right in front of her. By February 2019, the two were married.

As newlyweds, they lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Israel worked at a local QuikTrip convenience store — most recently as an assistant manager. Friends called him “Izzy.” “He was a very happy person, ” Krystal told us. “He would always stay positive. On the side he loved working on cars. It was his dream to have a detailing shop.”

Krystal gave birth to a baby boy on March 1st. Just a few weeks later, Israel started to develop Covid-19 symptoms: cough, fever, nausea.

Per the Tulsa World, QuikTrip said in an email that it didn’t believe Israel contracted the virus at work, but the company also noted it didn’t know for sure. He hadn’t been in since March 16.

However, Oklahoma has lagged behind other states in taking precautionary measures: Although Tulsa issued a “safer-at-home” order at the end of the March, the governor of Oklahoma has yet to declare a state-wide “safer-at-home” order for people under the age of 65.

Krystal and their newborn moved out of the apartment to protect themselves around March 21st. As Israel’s symptoms worsened, he went to the hospital for the first time. He didn’t meet qualifications for a test, and was told to isolate.

Israel took a second trip to a different hospital. Health workers tested him for the flu and strep, which both came back negative. But he was once again denied a coronavirus test.

Israel’s symptoms worsened, until “he was weak, had shortness of breath, and a 105 degree fever,” Krystal told us. She brought him to a new hospital, where he was finally tested Covid-19, received a positive result and was put on a ventilator the next day.

“As long as I knew him, I’ve never seen him sick before,” Krystal told us. “It was killing me to see him like that. I knew something was wrong with him every day. I didn’t know where else to take him because everybody kept sending us home. I was like, ‘I just don’t know what to do. I’m trying.’ I tried it all — no doctor wanted to help.”

Israel remained in the ICU for the rest of the week, and his condition seemed to improve. Krystal kept in contact with the nurse at the hospital. “It was looking like he was going to recover,” Krystal told us. “He was starting to stabilize a little bit.”

Krystal last saw Israel through a glass hospital window, before he passed away on April 5th. When he died, Krystal told me: “I didn’t feel real. I lost my best friend.” She added: “He was so excited to be a dad.”

Our hearts are with Krystal and the rest of Israel’s loved ones at this time.

Reporting by staff writer Amanda Svachula

This originally appeared on Medium.com