New Mexico air care nurse fighting COVID after losing mom to virus

Coronavirus New Mexico

FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico nurse, transporting COVID patients during the pandemic, is now fighting the virus after just losing her mom to it. Sandra Greyeyes is a longtime nurse at San Juan Regional Medical Center, and for the past 12 years, she’s served on their air care team.

“The funny thing is, she was so, so afraid of flying,” said Ashley Tsosie, Greyeyes’ daughter. “Something about it sparked her interest, I think, just working in the ER and seeing the flight team come in. That’s what led her to be part of that team.”

Since the pandemic started, she’s served on the front lines. Most recently, she’s helped transport some of the sickest COVID patients.

“Report to emergencies out in the Navajo reservation where the pandemic has been hit hard,” said Jenny Phillips, Greyeyes’ daughter. “Also in our local area of San Juan County, flying patients from San Juan Regional to big hospitals like Albuquerque, Denver, Phoenix, for the patients who need emergency care.”

Last month, she was diagnosed with COVID, herself, after showing symptoms just before Thanksgiving. Gradually, her symptoms got worse.

“She started keeping a journal as soon as she started to feel even just smallest symptoms of fatigue,” said Cherilynn Tsosie, Greyeyes’ daughter. “Every day, she was kind of logging what she was feeling and then she got tested.”

The caregiver for her elderly parents, both of them got COVID as well, and all three ended up in the hospital. While Greyeyes’ dad recovered, her mom, unfortunately, passed away from the virus.

“When my mom ended up in the hospital, unfortunately, none of us could be there by her side to kind of just encourage her to keep on fighting,” said Ashley Tsosie. “That’s been one of the hardest things to kind of navigate through because our main focus is really just been around my mom and her progress daily, but at the same time, trying to cope with the passing of our grandma.”

After three hospital stays over the past month, Greyeyes is now on a ventilator and was transported to UNM Hospital earlier this week. With a long recovery ahead and mounting medical bills, her daughters hope the community will come to her aid. The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses Greyeyes will need in the coming months.

“She is such a giving person and has given so much to her community. We’d hate for her to come out of this and to have the burden of thinking about finances or her care,” said Cherilynn Tsosie. “We’re just trying to do anything possible to help her.”

Still, her daughters are behind her recovery, every step of the way. They remain hopeful she will get better soon and come off the ventilator.

“Knowing that our mom is a strong fighter, we know that this victory is going to be for her and she will win this battle,” said Phillips. “We’re hopeful and we’re behind her. We just pray for her daily, for everyone’s health.”

The family got hit with more bad news yesterday. Greyeyes’ brother in Phoenix is also in critical care now for COVID. However, the family is hopeful both will recover soon.

COVID-19 News in New Mexico

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