Christine Ybarra’s husband Celestino has dealt with lupus for a while, but the past few emergencies with his health have been more stressful than usual.
For them, the Mariposa Fire Station can’t open soon enough even though Celestino has survived both experiences.
“He has had both of his lungs replaced because of the lupus and has had his fair share of health problems,” Christine said.
After he had his lungs replaced, he had two instances where he was on the brink of death and had to wait longer than usual for medical help.
In June 2020, Celestino had blown a mitral valve on his heart, which they didn’t know at the time.
“I called 911 and they said they had to get responders from Santa Fe because there wasn’t anyone available in the area,” Christine said.
Paramedics didn’t arrive for another hour, according to her.
“They were amazed that he made it through. He got to the hospital and they found the blown heart valve,” she said.
It was a welcome surprise that he survived and was still alive for Christine.
But that wouldn’t be the only near-death experience they went through.
The next instance was January 2022, when Celestino couldn’t breathe and was gasping for air.
“He was able to breathe so we didn’t have oxygen at the time,” she said.
This time she said the responders had to work on him before taking him to the hospital because he had waited for so long. Paramedics that came from within Rio Rancho took just as long to get to him as the paramedics from Santa Fe, Christine added.
According to Christine, her husband coded at their house and then again close to the hospital. The ambulance had to stop the second time.
“One of the paramedics told me, ‘You guys really need to push to get this open because our response time was further out than it should be and there are too many people in this area,'” she said.
They found out that her husband got COVID and was having trouble with his lungs.
“His lungs that were already replaced were failing him,” she said.
Christine says the best option to get her husband to the hospital quickly is to just drive him herself. She was terrified of losing him, and the extra wait time stressed her out.
Now, the Ybarra family is almost always masked up in public because of her husband’s condition. She says it has been the reality for them since he was diagnosed with lupus.
“It is a gift for him to be alive and have a new set of lungs,” Christine said.