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A week ago, Pink shared on Instagram that she and her son, Jameson, had contracted COVID-19. Fortunately, they are both negative for the virus now. Pink has been talking about her experience being sick, and about how frightened she was for Jameson too. On Thursday, Ellen posted to her Youtube channel a chat with Pink (linked below), during which the singer went into more detail about the timeline of Jameson’s and her illnesses, and was near tears a few times.
E! recapped their chat:
The singer tells The Ellen DeGeneres Show the illness struck their home in mid-March, just as the coronavirus began to shut down schools and other public spaces. Her son was the first to come down with the sickness and his symptoms “were all over the place.” She says they consulted their doctor who told them “just to stay home.”
Then she began to exhibit symptoms, but was unaware it might be from the virus. “I never had what they tell you to look for.” She explains, “At a certain point around March 18, March 19, March 20, when his fever was staying and going up. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t breath[e].”
Her breathing became so difficult, she required the use of a nebulizer—a medical device that turns medicine into a mist one can inhale—”for the first time in 30 years.” In addition, Pink says she “couldn’t function without” the use of her rescue inhaler. “That’s when I started to get really scared,” the 40-year-old shares.
Their family then received news they could get a test, but only one person could take it, so she got it done. A week later, the results came back positive, although Pink said she already “knew” what the answer would be.
Things took a turn for the worst when her 3-year-old son began to throw up, complain of “chest pains” and had difficulty breathing. She recalls, “That[‘]s the point where you are just kind of like, ok are we going to the hospital? Like what are we doing right now? Because this is the scariest thing I’ve ever ever been through in my whole life.”
Ultimately, Pink says they “had to ride it out.”
Listening to Pink detail how the illness progressed for both her and for Jameson was heartbreaking and scary. She’s clearly relieved that both she and Jameson are doing better, but she’s still experiencing the trauma of it. She said to Ellen at one point that she wondered, with “all of the crazy stuff” that she’d done in her life, whether this virus was going to kill her.
I thought it was smart that she acknowledged her privilege: She said that people were angry that she was able to get a test, and she agreed that they should be angry, though with the healthcare system, not with her. She’s right, of course: If anybody is experiencing symptoms and they have access to a test, they’re going to take it. I am assuming that the reason she didn’t get Jameson tested instead was because by that point, he’d been sicker longer and, even though his symptoms were wide-ranging, they knew that he had COVID-19.
She and Ellen ended the chat by talking about her haircut (I’m still not used to seeing her with her natural hair color!) and Ellen also mentioned that Pink donated $500,000 to a hospital in Philadelphia [Temple University Hospital] to help the hospital’s coronavirus-relief efforts. As Pink wrote in her Instagram post, she told Ellen that her mom had worked there for 18 years and that the hospital doesn’t “have a lot of resources or ways to have donations like that.” (She also donated the same amount of money to the City of Los Angeles’ Mayor’s Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund.)
This crisis is laying bare not just the inequity between people’s access to necessities like adequate healthcare, but also the lack of access that many of these institutions experience. I think most of us assume that if we go to the hospital, the staff will have what they need on hand to help us get healthy again (or to provide palliative care). It’s scary to be confronted with the fact that that’s not the case anywhere, and that many hospitals are worse off than others.
I hope that Pink and Jameson are feeling 100% soon, and I also hope that Pink doesn’t force herself to keep reliving the trauma by talking about it if she feels like it’s getting too overwhelming. Obviously, everybody is glad that she and Jameson are doing better and recognizes that that’s the most important part of her story. At the same time, we all want to hear her story because most of us have no idea what it is like to experience COVID-19 directly. We want to have some understanding of it, just in case. But it’s clear that the past several weeks have taken their toll, so I hope she’s taking care of herself, too.