Mom describes 'torture' of 4-year-old son's suffering from coronavirus

DENVER -- A Colorado mother is sharing the story of her 4-year-old son's battle with COVID-19, calling it "torture" and "completely isolating."

Anna Zimmermann, a neonatologist and mother of three, said she'd followed news of the pandemic's spread. Being a physician, she said she took warnings from health officials seriously, keeping her children quarantined at home since March 12.

"My husband went to Costco once. I went to Target once. My kids never went on a playdate. I wouldn't let them go across the street to talk to their neighborhood friends. We adopted the stay-at-home recommendations early and stuck to them. We did everything right," she wrote on her blog, "Mighty Littles".

By March 21, her son Lincoln started showing mild symptoms -- a stuffy nose, sneeze and cough -- and by the next week, he'd developed a fever.

A pediatrician diagnosed him with pneumonia on March 28. At first, Zimmermann said her son was doing "OK," but two days later, he needed more support and oxygen and was admitted to Denver's Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Lincoln increasingly needed more and more help, and on his second day in the hospital, he received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

"He was working so hard to breathe - using all of the muscles in his chest, abdomen, and neck to help him breathe. As a doctor, I knew he was working hard to breathe ... As a mom, it was torture watching him struggle," she wrote.

Zimmermann said despite the outpouring of support from her community, the experience was "completely isolating."

"My husband is at home with my girls. We can't hug each other. I can't hug my girls. My family is split up and we feel so far away," she wrote.

After days of dealing with a terrible, persistent cough, spiking heart rate and lack of appetite, Lincoln started showing "glimpses" of his normal self, Zimmermann said. He was sent home from the hospital with an oxygen tank after a week.

She's now urging others to stay safe and healthy.

"Please take this virus seriously - it is no joke," she wrote.

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