EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It all happened so fast for the Soria family. Just a week ago, everyone was relatively healthy. Having just returned from an emergency procedure at a local hospital, Rosie Soria began feeling ill. That was the beginning of a nightmare for one El Paso family.
Now, it’s also become their mission to save other families from the same pain they’re enduring.
The Sorias’ daughter, Bonnie Soria Najera, is an El Paso Community College Board Trustee. She helps teachers keep in touch with their students throughout the pandemic, and she kept her distance from her parents. She never thought COVID-19 would affect her family. But it did, and it happened quickly.
Friday, May 15, Bonnie’s mom Rosie Soria was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms. “It just went so fast. I mean, she went from being okay, to being—she couldn’t breathe, and it’s just worse and worse,” Bonnie says. By Tuesday, her mom was put on a ventilator in the ICU at University Medical Center.
Rosie Soria, 64, had underlying medical issues and was concerned about getting the virus. The family says they only went grocery shopping twice since the pandemic began, and hadn’t even allowed other family members inside the home. Still, they suspect it was an emergency procedure that landed her in the hospital for two days earlier this month that resulted in her coming down with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Leo Soria’s condition deteriorated quickly. He developed a fever and was tested for COVID-19 on Sunday. Just two days later, Bonnie says she was FaceTiming with her father when she realized something was wrong. “He calls me, and he says ‘Bonnie, I think I’m in trouble.'” She says she could see he looked like he was in distress. Bonnie called 911, and paramedics took him to Providence East for treatment.
“I’ve never seen anybody—I’ve never seen anybody like that. The way they breathe, it’s just horrible. It’s horrible,” Bonnie says.
Within days, her parents were both fighting COVID-19 in different hospitals and separate ICUs. Doctors attempted plasma therapy on her mom and trial drug remdesivir on her dad. On Friday, Bonnie got the call no child ever wants to receive.
“I was on the freeway and the doctor calls and says ‘I just want you to know your mom didn’t make it,'” Bonnie says through tears.
While Bonnie was speaking with sister station KTSM, her phone rang. It was her father, Leo.
“It was the nurse calling. They just wanted us to talk to him before they put him on an intubator,” Bonnie said when she returned the call. A pause in her sentence left enough room for the statement to sink in. Just hours after losing her mother to COVID-19 Friday afternoon, Bonnie’s father was being placed on a ventilator. He doesn’t know his wife of 47 years has died.
Bonnie Soria Najera will now have to bury her mother, and her family is hoping her father can pull through.
“While everyone is out there wanting to hug their friends, their family, have a party and drink. We just wanted to be with my family. We just wanted to be with my parents. and now my mom is gone, and my dad is on a ventilator,” Bonnie says. “Is it really worth it to be out there to be celebrating Memorial Day weekend? They don’t want to be going through what we’re going through. And we don’t want them to go through what we’re going through. Please stay home.”