For Penticton’s Nancy Browne (left), seeing her 86-year-old mother recover from COVID-19 was a sign that there is hope. Pictured about is Nancy Browne, Betty Jukes and Kim Tully on a Skype call. (Supplied)

For Penticton’s Nancy Browne (left), seeing her 86-year-old mother recover from COVID-19 was a sign that there is hope. Pictured about is Nancy Browne, Betty Jukes and Kim Tully on a Skype call. (Supplied)

COVID-19 ‘not a death sentence’ says B.C. woman after seeing senior mother recover

Cancer, blindness, a fractured hip, dementia, and COVID-19 not enough to bring Betty Jukes down

For Penticton’s Nancy Browne, seeing her 86-year-old mother recover from COVID-19 was a sign that there is hope.

Despite countless battles with her health, Betty Jukes continues to defy the odds.

The Bobcaygeon, Ont. resident has been through more in the past several months than most have in their entire lives, beating COVID-19 while simultaneously battling cancer in both her neck and lungs, blindness, a fractured hip, and dementia.

“She’s 86 years old,” said Browne. “I guess you can’t have eight kids without becoming real tough.”

Now that the dust has settled, Browne says it’s important for people to know that COVID-19 is not an automatic death sentence.

“I think the good news about this whole story is, first when you hear (of) somebody that’s over 80 years old and they get COVID, you automatically think it’s a death sentence. That’s what we thought, but I think it’s important for people to know that it’s not necessarily a death sentence,” explained Browne.

“There is good news.”

READ MORE: After living with horrible pain for nearly a year, Coalmont woman anticipates surgery

Despite being more than 4,000 kilometres away, Browne has managed to connect with her mother through virtual calls, although she admitted it’s hard to not be with her during these trying times.

From her living room in Penticton, Browne talks with her mother on her iPad daily. Although virtual calls are not the same as in-person conversations, Browne said they are always cherished.

“Whether we have one more day with her, one more week, month, year or more we are blessed to have been given this extra time with her,” said Browne.

In November, Browne flew back to Ontario to visit her mother. At this point, Jukes was still living on her own. Although dementia was starting to creep in, Jukes was adamant about not living in a nursing home.

Together, Browne and her sister Kim Tully, who lives in Ontario, worked to accommodate their legally-blind mother, but things were taken out of their hands Dec. 1 when Jukes fractured her hip.

COVID-19 in Canada
Infogram

Nurses warned the sisters during the first two weeks of December that their mother would likely not recover from the surgery, or the anesthetics, due to her dementia.

“They might last two to six weeks, maybe three months,” said Browne.

At the same time, cat scans revealed cancer in Jukes’ lungs.

About three weeks after her hip surgery, Tully said enough was enough, and committed to staying with her every day.

“She (mom) was pretty much laying in bed going bathroom in the bed, and stuff like that. And she was used to walking all over the place,” explained Browne.

Tully was with her mother at the hospital from when she woke up in the morning, until she fell asleep again at night, leaving only to make meals for the two of them.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: B.C. puts cap on number of vehicles at outdoor drive-in events

Come the middle of February, Jukes was still in hospital. At this point, her dementia was becoming increasingly worse.

However, Tully was able to take Jukes back to Bobcaygoen where she cared for her in her apartment.

“She overcame the hip surgery, and defied those odds, she came out of it,” said Browne.

On March 23, Jukes fell in the apartment, and Tully couldn’t get her up. Fearing she had broken her hip again, they called the ambulance.

“After falling and stuff, she maybe was sweating and nauseated or whatever, and they put her on the COVID floor,” explained Browne.

When she arrived at the hospital, further cat scans revealed more cancer in Jukes’ neck.

An infection in her neck prompted antibiotics. According to the family, a week later, a test for COVID-19 came back positive.

“So then we’re thinking… this is it. Because we heard all the stories on the news about all these old people dying, and needing ventilators,” said Browne.

“My sister and I, oh my God, we spent so many hours bawling our eyes out, thinking we’re never going to see her again.”

Jukes, at that point, was alone in the hospital due to visitor restrictions, with dementia worsened even more.

Because of this, the sisters were extremely worried their mother wouldn’t regularly eat, or go to the bathroom.

“So once she got diagnosed with COVID, we thought sure, she was a goner. And then they put her on oxygen, and then we’re really thinking… she’s never going to come out of this,” said Browne.

Amazingly, Browne explained, after two weeks of being on oxygen, they managed to take Jukes off of it.

Her health at this point was rapidly declining. She lost the ability to feed herself, and nurses took over this responsibility.

But the 86-year-old was resilient; six weeks later, after multiple tests, Jukes’ tests for COVID-19 came back negative.

“My God, she overcame that,” said Browne. “She is so strong willed.”

On Sunday, May 17, Jukes came home to Bobcaygeon.

“No, you don’t have to panic thinking your loved one is going to die in the hospital all by themselves, because they could get over it,” said Browne. “There’s a lot of factors I guess, but I mean, she’s so strong-willed, there was no way she was dying.

“When my mom’s time comes to go, I think she should be carried off in a golden chariot… she’s been through so much in her lifetime.”

Public Health Ontario has not yet confirmed this information. The Western News has reached out to the health authority for comment.

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Upcoming budget discussions in Sidney will look into hiring an outside contractor to help develop a long-term economic strategy. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney businesses, council working together on long-term economic pandemic strategy

Search for outside consultant part of 2021 budget discussions

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre likely won’t be hosting a farmer’s market originally scheduled for Central Saanich after all after municipal staff in Sidney did not issue the necessary license.
Proposed farmer’s market for Sidney likely to be cancelled

Market was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5 in the parking lot of Mary Winspear Centre

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read