For 62 days, he battled serious COVID-19 complications while on a ventilator at Rose Medical Center. Wayne first started getting sick back in March.
“It was the first wave of virus patients. We were just realizing what was happening,” Cheryl explained, recounting her story to CBS4’s Mekialaya White.
Many people are feeling a range of emotions amid a coronavirus diagnosis and subsequent quarantine. That can include feelings of loneliness with isolation, sadness, grief and even shame.
“So, so very grateful. So thankful. So humbled.”
That’s how Cheryl McDonald describes feeling now that her husband of 29 years, Wayne, is on a road to recovery.
“We ended up going into the hospital. When he went in, I couldn’t go in with him into the exam room to answer questions or to advocate for him. I was actually asked to go to the car because I had some symptoms myself,” she said.
Cheryl did as she was instructed, and quarantined herself. That isolation wasn’t just physical. It was emotional as well, with much of her time spent waiting anxiously for any updates she could get.
“There were a lot of nights it was really difficult. I tried to be mindful of the medical staff and their schedule. I had to be really patient. There were times I would call and they’d tell me someone would have to get back with me. Sometimes it was minutes, sometimes it was hours. It was a test of patience for sure.”
Many COVID-19 patients and families are dealing with similar impacts, even a stigma associated with a positive test.
“There’s a lot of anxiety and there’s isolation on top of isolation,” said Dr. Justin Ross. As a veteran clinical psychologist at UCHealth, he’s working with patients daily.
“This situation is great at throwing a wrench in uncertainty. We don’t really know how long we’re going to be dealing with this or know if we’re going to get sick or we’re not going to get sick,” he added. “Finding ways, even virtually, to connect with family and friends is really important.”
Cheryl said it was her saving grace. She talked with extended family members nightly, via their prayer group, Zoom Cathedral. Eventually, she got the call with good news she’d been hoping for: Wayne could return home.
“We’re just really happy to have him home. There are so many people who did not make it. We just feel so blessed. We don’t take it lightly. It really sharpens your view on how precious life really is and how we should take care of it,” said Cheryl.
Her words of advice to anyone battling COVID-19 are to keep pushing forward. “Stay positively focused. Stay with people you love. Stay prayerful, if faith is a part of your life. I think all those things are helpful.”