We both became sick on December 23rd, 2021. It felt like we had contracted bad colds. We canceled our Christmas plans and cozied up to be sick and recover. Our youngest of three daughters, Jana, came to see us and had plans to fly to a wedding out of state the next day. Being she was planning to travel, she decided we should check to see if we had Covid. I took the test she brought and it was positive. Being she was exposed, our daughter made the decision to stay and not go to the wedding. She stayed with us and monitored our oxygen and temperatures.
On Monday the 27th, she decided we were doing okay and decided to go home so she could work as she worked from her house. My fever had broke the night before and I was feeling better. Paul on the other hand did not show improvement. His oxygen continued to drop and on the 29th I drove him to the hospital. Our oldest daughter, Sarah, met us there and took him into the emergency room. I didn’t go in with them because I was considered to still be sick. Sarah brought a wheelchair to the car and as she was putting a mask on her dad he said, “I love you, “ to me and at the same time I said, “I love you,” to him. That was the last time we spoke.
From the ER, they admitted him to the hospital right away. It was too hard for him to talk around the oxygen apparatus so texting was the mode of communication over the next few days. My daughters and I communicated with the medical staff by phone. One or all of our three daughters were with me for these phone calls. Due to the restrictions of the times, we were not allowed to be with Paul. As sick as he was, he had to advocate for himself. He consulted us via text when he needed to make a decision about treatment. We did the best we could to guide him, but so much information was missed. This was very hard on all of us and in retrospect should never happen to anyone. A person that sick should have an advocate with them – period.
Over the next week he was on oxygen, IV meds and protein shakes as they tried to build him up and fight the illness. We received daily reports and stayed hopeful, never believing he wouldn’t come home. On January 6th he asked us how we felt about intubation in a text. Sarah wrote back a beautiful message to her dad basically saying we need to try to live – go for it. On the 7th he was really struggling to breath and wanted more help. He gave his consent to be intubated. Paul was in a smaller hospital that was not equipped for long term intubation. They found him a bed in a bigger hospital and airlifted him to that facility that day. He seemed stable the next day.
On the evening of the 9th, we were informed that he was not doing well and if he got through the night things might turn around the next day. Our middle daughter, Paula, stayed with me in my room that night. At 5:00 am the strobe light on my phone went off. Paula answered the phone while I got up and put my hearing processors on. It was the hospital calling. Paul was losing ground, they didn’t think he had much time left. We quickly got ready to go.
Jana’s fiancée drove Jana, Paula and myself to the hospital that was 60 miles away. Sarah was called until she answered her phone. She made plans to meet us there. Arriving at the hospital, we found our way to the ICU. They had us put on hooded air controlled masks before we could go into Paul’s room. As we walked in I looked at the monitors and I could see that his heart rate was too fast. I kept hoping a miracle would happen and he would stabilize – but the machines kept sending warning beeps and the nurse would come in and reset the machine.
I stood next to Paul, kissed his forehead, held his hand and thought “please don’t go.” After a while, when it was obvious his heart was failing, I whispered through my tears, “If you have to go, it’s okay.” Sarah, Paula, Jana and I stood around him arm in arm. At 8:30 am, his heart stopped and the sun rose up over the horizon shining a brilliant golden light into the room. And Jesus took Paul home.