In It Together

A community sourced archive,
documenting COVID-19’s impact
on dentistry

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Many in the dental community have been affected by COVID-19 and want to share their stories.

As a result, the ADA is launching the JADA+ COVID-19 Monograph—a digital collection of stories, reflections, and accounts from any perspective, in any format, including articles, essays, podcasts, videos, graphics, and photos—that is open to all contributors. Submit your COVID-19 story here.

Stories by Region

2020 Has Been A Tough Year For My Family. – Dr. Ansley H. Depp

I saw what was coming when COVID-19 starting affecting dental offices and closed my office one day before the ADA announced that offices should close during the national “stay at home” order. My office was no longer able to get masks or PPE that protected my staff. So, we closed and I spent the next 8 weeks searching for PPE, educating myself for good ways to protect my staff and watching my husband do business Zoom calls and my sons attend virtual school. At first, my sympathies were with my youngest son who was missing his senior track season, prom, spring break, final choir concert and graduation. It was frustrating and sad. That quickly changed when in April my mother-in-law came down with COVID. She had just been moved to a nursing home a month earlier and COVID was hitting the nursing homes fast and furious. Within the month, she had passed away. That was the start of our COVID journey.

CM_depp_squareIn June, my graduating senior went on his senior trip with another family. When he returned, he complained of a sore throat, aches and headache. We tested him for COVID because he had been helping in my office prior to his trip and I couldn’t have him return until we knew for sure. Two doctors told us at the time he did not have COVID-19 but 8 days later we found out he did indeed have COVID. By this point we were on vacation. Our family spent our vacation quarantined in our condo in Florida. We all were tested at about the 10-day mark and luckily none of our family caught COVID from my youngest son. We had dodged the COVID bullet! Or so we thought…

Fast forward to the end of July. We finally were going to celebrate our senior. It was all he had asked for. He didn’t care about anything else he had missed; he just wanted a grad party. We had secured a place outside and were following all COVID guidelines and restrictions. It was set for July 31. On July 30th as I drove home from work, my husband called me and said he had a fever of 102. He had been feeling like he had a sinus infection so he had been watching himself for any other symptoms. But a fever of 102 in the summer? We were pretty confident he had COVID. Here we are again. We canceled the party, and all began the COVID quarantine. For the next few days, we hunkered down. By Tuesday August 4th, I had symptoms. Our youngest was very likely immune at this point and our oldest son, left the house and headed back to law school to avoid the sickness. However, by Wednesday August 5th, my husband was very sick and my youngest son had to take him to the hospital. The following are my social media posts from this time. It tells the story much better than I could now. It captures the emotions of the moment. I urge you to read them to really understand what COVID can do to a healthy individual.


August 8, 2020

I have hesitated to put this on Facebook. My husband is a very private person, but he needs as many "down on your knees" prayers right now as he can get. Rob is a very healthy person. Works out, not overweight, no co-morbidities, no high blood pressure, never a smoker-nothing.

Tuesday July 28th he started with what felt like sinus pressure. He isolated himself from the family in our guest bedroom. I monitored his temp and his oxygen with a pulse ox. He got very weak on Wednesday August 5th and we got him to the hospital. Christ is taking very good care of him. He has gotten every treatment out there. However, his lungs are just not working well enough to give him the oxygen his body needs. He is not on a ventilator yet but is probably going to need one.

I also have Covid but have a very mild case and seem to be recovering. We checked with the doctor for Sawyer and he has immunity at this time since he just recovered in July.

Y'all I really need prayers for Rob. I need prayers for our family. He has to come out stronger on the other side. Our family needs him so much. He holds our family together. We cannot imagine life without him. Please continue to pray. I will update you as things change.

I want to say one more thing...Wear a mask! Rob only went to one place without a mask ( I did not know) and the timing lines up with start of symptoms. Please do it for others.


August 9, 2020

Update: Rob has something called mediastinal pneumothorax which is making it difficult to breathe. Caused from the Covid. He can no longer get enough oxygen through the hi flow nasal cannula to sustain his oxygen needs. He is on a bipap as we decide the next phase of care for him today. Please continue praying. He is cognizant and aware of what is going on. He wants to get well. Thank you for prayers.

August 9, 2020 pm

Update: Rob has been placed on a ventilator to allow his body to heal. Prayers for no infection as he is on it and for his lungs and body to heal. Pray for strength for him and strength for me and the boys. Keep praying. I'm not allowed to be there and have only been able to talk to him one time. This is really really hard.

August 10, 2020

Update: Today's update is good! I am literally wrapped in God's love through the prayers being sad for me. They are keeping me strong with a strength that can only come from God's presence and I'm grateful for each and every person that is praying for our CM_depp_image1family. I feel good today. Almost completely back to normal. Just a little cough left. My quarantine ends Friday morning so I'm still at home but feeling so much better! Thank you for the prayers, they are working!

Rob: He is doing very well on the Vent. He fought them hard as they intubated them and did not tolerate their first choice of sedation well. Those that know Rob will not be surprised by that. He does not like to give up control. However, they found the right mix of medications and he is doing so well now. Vital signs are good, oxygen is good and so far he is tolerating the sedation and the Vent well. Continued prayers for no infection and calm so he can heal.

Since the Depps have had 3 cases of Covid in their family, I'm going to share a little about each case so you can see how different this disease is in each person. I'm going to start with Sawyer since he was our first.

Sawyer: If there is one thing I have struggled with, it has been the effect of this virus on Sawyer. He missed the pinnacle of his senior year. He missed his senior track season, his trip to DC for We The People, prom, senior trip to Mexico, Track regionals and state, a normal graduation, his grad party, and now he won't have either of his parents at his drop off at U of L. It's been a tough year for him and as a parent that hurts. Sawyer picked up the virus on a senior trip to Florida in the middle of June. (Rob did not get his Covid from Sawyer) When he returned home on Saturday, he woke us up in the middle of the night saying his throat hurt so much he couldn't swallow. Immediately we thought strep. Well, I get deathly ill from strep, so we stuck him upstairs to keep him away from everybody. At the urgent care they told us strep.

I made them do a Covid test, because I would not let Sawyer come back to my office to work if he was sick. They said, we will do it but we don't think that is what he has. The next day he woke us up again and said, " I think it's mono" So Rob took him to his doctor who said, "It was not mono but also was not Covid". Sawyer laid in bed for 3 days with a fever, sore throat, aches, chills and a little confusion. Then on Wednesday he popped back up, no fever and said he felt better. That was it. No cough, fever gone. And still no Covid test back. But at this point, we just thought he had a viral pharyngitis and he was better. It took 7 days for his test to come back and we were shocked that he was positive. We all quarantined together and shockingly none of us got anything. My hunch is that because he didn't have a cough he was not a huge viral shedder. Just a hunch.

Now to the part that really bothers me. My son was one of the first in our little town to have the virus. He was talked about, he was shunned. Even after a negative test and 21 days he was told to leave a party by "a friend". And we as a family did the right thing as soon as we knew. We told every person he had been around. Do you know how awful that feels to have to call friends and tell them you didn't know, but that they have been around someone that has Covid? Luckily he did not pass it to anyone.

I'm putting this story out, because people need to recognize that this virus shows up in many different ways. I have heard way too many stories of people getting sick but not wanting to get a test. I want people to get a test. If not, we just keep spreading this disease. I also want people to realize that a sick Covid person is STILL a person and that there is a set end time to their contagiousness. In my opinion, the safest person you can be around is the person that has just finished their quarantine with Covid. You know where that person stands. The other person standing next to you could be asymptomatic and YOU HAVE NO IDEA!

So, this was Sawyer's story. I'll tell mine tomorrow and then Rob's. Each is very different.

But moral of story:
Go about your lives, I'm not about staying in my house forever but WEAR A MASK especially if you need to be inside.
Get tested if you start to have symptoms. I like the pixel test by labcorp. Easy, non invasive and you can order it to your house and do it from home if you are under quarantine.


August 11, 2020

Update: Rob is doing ok. Chest xray is stable, his stats are stable. He has a feeding tube so he is getting nutrients. He wakes up and writes on the whiteboard. Asks questions. He wants to know what is going on. We sent in photos and got a picture of him awake with the photos. He is in a lovely room with a huge window. He is still fighting the virus in his body but he is going to win! Pray for no infection, pray for the virus to exit his body and his lungs to start to recover. HE IS GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS! HE IS STRONG! GOD WILL SEE HIM THROUGH THIS!


August 12, 2020

Update: Wednesday
I have been waiting all day for the doctor to call to update me. This disease is so up and down. When I called this morning, they said he had a restless night with hallucinations. Yesterday, I face-timed with him and he was alert a lot of the day according to the nurses. I think it was just too much for him. They got him comfortable today and he is resting.

Some great news; his inflammatory markers (markers for the virus) are coming down. That is a good sign.
His chest xray today shows some minimal improvement. I'll take any kind of improvement.
They have been able to reduce his vent settings which is also great news. For those of you who understand this; his FiO2 is at 45% and his Peep setting is at 7. His oxygen stat is at 94%
I'm much improved and all I have left is a cough. I'm 5 days fever free.
This is really hard, but I'm hopeful today could be a turning point. Keep praying for calm for him. Pray for healing. HE WILL GET THROUGH THIS! HE IS STRONG! GOD WILL HEAL HIM!

August 13, 2020

Update Thursday: Slow and steady. Doctor seems optimistic. Hopeful for progress. Virus markers continue to come down. Prayers for continued weaning off the vent, prayers for healing of his lungs. That process seems to be taking the longest. HE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!
Sawyer went off to U of L today. Happiest kid in the world! Prayers for both my boys as they continue their schooling while dealing with the realities of the situation at home. Thankful for all my friends and family helping to get Sawyer to school and organized. GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH THIS!

CM_depp_image2August 14, 2020

Update: Friday
Good day! They are starting the wean process from the vent. Today he took breaths on his own for a couple of hours and did really well. So they keep trying. Praying for the day he comes off the vent!
I feel almost like normal. (insert laugh there) Did laundry, picked up house and even pulled weeds in the back yard. Retook a test from home and will know probably Sunday or Monday what that test result is. Hopeful for healing. Easton came home to be with me for the weekend. Grateful for my sons.
I have no idea why this disease strikes so hard for some like Rob and others get a mild case like I did. All I know is, I do not want one of your loved ones to go through this and neither do you.
So, let's all suck it up for a few more months and wear a mask when you can. We will all get through this together. Rob will get through this! Prayers for continued weaning and no infection as he heals!



August 16, 2020

Update: Prayer is amazing! Rob came off the ventilator today! Praise God!!! HE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!



Dr. Ansley H. Depp

Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs 
Kentucky Delegate to the ADA



Topics: Practitioners, Personal Essay, Region–South

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