I keep on replaying over and over, she said. “What did I say, what did I do? Could I have done something different? Should I have turned the car around and went to the E.R. Myself to say Why are you sending him home? ’”
Mr. Ruby spent the next few days at home sleeping. He refused food, and Ms. Herrera, who was beginning to recover from her own bout with the virus, tried to make sure he stayed hydrated.
When Mr. Fernandez, his cousin, was texted to ask how he was, Mr. Ruby responded with one word: Tired. ”
On Dec. 8, Mr. Ruby’s skin started to turn blue, and Ms. Herrera called an ambulance. This time, the hospital admitted him. A couple of days afterwards, Mr. Ruby seemed to rally. But he then took a turn for the worse and was told that he would be put on a ventilator.
He advised Ms. Herrera on the phone that he was scared.
I just kept reminding him Youre going to come home, youre going to be OK, and when its time, well laugh about it, she explained. He died on Jan. 16.
The family’s grief metastasized into accusations and guilt. Some of Mr. Ruby’s family members blamed Ms. Herrera, saying she should have gotten him help sooner. Mr. Fernandez blames the hospital, stating E.R. Physicians should not have sent Mr. Ruby house when he first sought help.
There was bickering over contributions raised to help the family get through the crisis, and relationships have frayed. Life will never be the same for anyone in the extended family.