The resident of Barrie, Ontario, had been at a COVID-19 assessment center the previous day and was told that he had a cold. But he decided to follow Tracy’s advice.
Then her symptoms got worse. By the time he arrived at the hospital, his health was in decline.
But their family’s biggest test of strength was yet to come.
Finally, the doctors informed René, 42, that he should be intubated.
Here is their story, told on CBC Radio.
Rein: Tracy and I met 18 years ago in the Dominican Republic. We were both on vacation and this is where our love started and we became soul mates. And then we got married 10 months later.
Tracy: No, we didn’t. No, we didn’t. [Laughs]
Rein: Well, I proposed 10 months later. We have created a beautiful family that we are strong together.
Tracy, she insisted that I go to the hospital, which I was against, just because I got tested the day before.
Tracy: No, you have been assessed. You have not been tested.
Rein: Yes, I got an assessment at the assessment clinic here in Barrie. I was told I have a cold.
Fortunately, I listened to her after she grabbed my face and she looked me in the eye and said, “René, you know, you have to come in. “
Things started to get worse as soon as I stepped in because my breathing started to wane. My oxygen levels started to drop. I started to have a fever.
Tracy: Still, it was something we didn’t want to hear [that René needed to be intubated]. I knew, however, that his body was weak and that is what the doctor said. He said his body was just too weak to absorb oxygen. It doesn’t come in.
He had already, I think, gone through two different air machines that just didn’t work for him.
So the next choice they had was to control his whole body and stop it.
Rein: he [the doctor] calmed me down and just talked and just said, “Hey, this is going to happen. But, you know, I want you to look outside. Look out the door right away, ”which was a glass door.
And there was a group of doctors there.
He said, “Do you see that? This is my team. And we will take care of you. We will make sure that we go through this together.
So don’t worry. Call your wife. Do what you need to do. Talk to them. But we have you. ”
Tracy: Just before René was intubated, he sent a message to our nine-year-old daughter, who was 10 years old.
So it was Saturday when we talked to her, and Monday was our daughter’s 10th birthday.
So just before hanging up with us, he said, “Tell dad that Bri won’t be home for her birthday, but I’ll be there to celebrate with her afterwards.” “
And he said, “Tell him I’m sorry. “
Rein: When I woke up, it was a little scary because I still had tubes. I always had a breathing tube, a feeding tube, everything. I was tied up.
I said … “You have to keep pushing, and you have to stay focused, because I can’t mentally allow myself … to fall apart right now. “– Tracy Segura
And even looking at photos now, it’s like I don’t even remember having a conversation with Tracy.
Tracy: You know, it came out on Tuesday and Tuesday night, he said, “Trace, it doesn’t suit me. “
And I had to… And we were on FaceTime. At this point, he could faceTime me alone. And I had to tell him, “Look at me. You know me. If I lie to you, you can tell. “
I said, “You are doing well and you have no idea how far you have come. So you have to keep pushing, and you have to stay focused, because I can’t afford to mentally collapse, you know, right now, especially when you’ve come so far. ”
Rein: And he [the doctor] said, “Well, we have two options for you. We have the option to stay here or the other option is to go home and heal there.
We checked you out. We have done everything we can on our side, and everything seems fine. ”
So I said, “Well, I’m going to choose option two. I want to go back home. I want to go back home. “
Tracy: It was just the best moment. He came into the car, reached out to the children, and they all grabbed his arm.
I buried my face in his chest and we all cried.
And it was just such a moment of relief at that time because there was not a time when we all let it go like that.
I hadn’t seen the kids cry like that. I hadn’t seen my son cry at all until then.
And just to be all five together again, it was the best feeling.
Rein: You know what, for me it was … I’m crying because the battle was over. I was at home.
Rein: I was victorious. I…
Tracy: You have returned home.
Rein: I went home. I was…
Tracy: You did it. You have returned home.
Rein: I did it. You know, and I had my kids behind me, you know, my wife next to me, and it was just this family that pushed me forward.
Tracy: We sang Happy Birthday for Bri [once René returned home]. We surprised them both.
We made a cake and sang Happy Birthday and it broke down.
She held it together for her birthday in a way I never expected.
But at that time, we sang Happy Birthday to her with her father over there, she melted and collapsed in his arms and just poured her heart into her father over there, telling her how much she l loved.
And it was necessary.
This Happened to Me: COVID-19 is a CBC Radio video series featuring the stories of Canadians who have fought the coronavirus.