Buda family finds hope at hospital amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Megan Wehring 

Hospitals and medical clinics have seen their fair share of patients within the last few months. Many have neglected monthly treatments and other care with extreme caution. Along with social distancing, they started a whole new process of medical distancing. Buda resident Sunny Gonzalez realized her initial fear was worth the risk to take care of her grandmother. 

Last summer, Gonzalez and her family moved to Buda, Texas, from Hawaii to care for her son with a neurological disorder. Her 93-year-old grandmother Yasuko Yamashito (Grammy) moved in with them later that year, which ended up being more long-term due to the coronavirus. 

Grammy outside of the emergency room.

Recently, Grammy hit her head that led to a serious wound. Gonzalez questioned her next motives to give her grandmother the best care, while still being cautious. 

“When she fell, my first thought was ‘Oh no, I hope it’s not so serious where I have to take her to the hospital,’” Gonzalez said. “We checked her. Because of the blood, we couldn’t really see how deep the gash was. We Googled how to check if someone has a concussion. She seemed to answer all of the questions correctly.” 

Originally, Gonzalez’s family moved to Buda to be in a more quiet place. Healthcare nearby at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center solidified their decision to make the move. Little did they know, they had to visit the hospital sooner than they thought. 

Sunny Gonzalez and Grammy wearing masks at the hospital.

“We knew if it was serious, especially because it was potentially like a head injury, it’s not something we could treat at home and I didn’t want to take the risk of it being worse,” Gonzalez said. 

When they were preparing to take Grammy to the hospital, Gonzalez’s son brought even more comfort to the situation. 

“My son has a neurological disorder, so he had to have brain surgery when he was two, and has a favorite stuffed animal who he calls ‘Polar Bear,’” Gonzalez said. “When we were kind of deciding what to do, he had run upstairs to grab it for us. He gave it to my grandmother and told her, ‘It’s ok, grandma, this will help you be brave in the hospital.’”

Due to Grammy being in the at-risk age group for COVID-19, along with Gonzalez’s son, there was an initial fear of going to the hospital. With Japanese as a common language in Hawaii, Grammy was also anxious about the possible language barrier at a hospital in Buda, Texas. 

Sunny Gonzalez’s son, Grammy and Polar Bear.

To their surprise, the family had a pleasant experience at their hospital visit.  

“When we got there, they had the initial COVID screening check-in and everyone was very helpful,” Gonzalez said. “Because English is my grandmother’s second language, they allowed me to help her with some of the questions. The nurse and the doctors were so kind and patient with her.”

The gash ended up being more serious. If they delayed care even more, Grammy’s head injury and overall health could have escalated to a higher risk. 

With some individuals who may be going through a similar situation, Gonzalez offers some lasting advice to practice safe medical care during the pandemic. 

“It will be hard not to have that initial sense of fear,” Gonzalez said. “When we step back and look at how much care we do have available first, how safe it is and the precautions being taken, it will be in our best path to go to the experts. If I had waited a couple of days, it could have gotten a lot worse.” 

All photos courtesy of the Gonzalez family. 

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