Janese Cockfield refused to sit idly by as her twin sister, Janice, lay in a coma 600 miles away, batting to survive Covid-19.
“I was constantly on the phone calling,” Janese said. “I was just thinking about how do we get Janice back home, and that’s it.”
Janese and Janice shared their experiences in an emotional interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday, detailing the months-long ordeal the family endured after Janice was rushed to the emergency room.
Janice told CNN she spent about 115 days in the hospital and rehabilitation clinics recovering from Covid-19 after its onset in March. She said that she was ventilated and in a coma for 57 of those days.
The 59-year-olds’ story gained attention after they were profiled in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Janice is an Atlanta-based employee of Delta Air Lines and Janese resides in Miami.
Janese told CNN she didn’t realize until reading the article that staff in the medical facility were telling her repeatedly that Janice was near death.
“I wasn’t hearing it, I wasn’t having it, because my mind could not wrap around the fact that she was not gonna be there,” Janese said.
Janese credited her faith and the advice of her general practitioner to stay optimistic about Janice.
She said she became close friends with one of the nurses providing care for her twin.
“My only comment to her was, I said ‘Well her heart is strong, and until she gives up I’m not gonna give up, until the day that she stops breathing I will never tell you to take her off that vent,'”Janese said.
At the end of the interview, the sisters received a message from Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
“Please let Janice know while she was in the coma, we (including myself) were following her progress daily and including her in our prayers. She is a miracle and we are so proud of her strength in this fight,” the statement said, as read on air by CNN’s Baldwin.
It continued, “Also let her know I can’t wait to send her and her sister on a first class trip, on me, anywhere in the world we fly when she’s able to travel. Merry Christmas!”
The pair were moved by the gesture, as they typically travel for birthday celebrations and were unable to due to Janice’s condition and the ongoing pandemic. Janice thanked Bastian and expressed deep appreciation for family and strangers alike for helping and keeping her in their prayers.
“When you wake up out of a coma after two months, you can’t move, you can’t walk, you can’t scratch your head,” Janice said.
She added, “To be here having this interview with you now, to me it just makes me realize every morning when I wake up, to say ‘Thank you God for another day.'”
Janice and Janese promised to let Baldwin know when and to where they would travel, and Janese offered a closing thought to viewers.
“Please, just wear your masks. You won’t ever want to have to deal with this in your life. Just wear the masks.”