Every day you see the numbers where thousands of people are dying from COVID-19. What you don’t typically see as often are the faces. In hospital rooms across the country, people are dying alone and family members are being robbed of those last precious days — even some without the virus.
“He had to suffer. I had to suffer. The entire family had to suffer,” There are no words to express the pain of losing a loved one for Michelle Bricker, just feelings.
“It feels like it wasn’t really real and I’m walking around and I mean my head knows what just happened but I’m still holding out for hope that wasn’t even there.”
Michelle’s husband Jeff died after days of being unresponsive in the hospital. Rather than COVID, it was his kidneys. But doctors weren’t so sure, so, 4 days before he died they tested him.
“They told me that I wasn’t gonna be able to go into his room because the test results haven’t come back yet and I just went into full meltdown mode because there was no way you were going to make me watch my husband die from behind glass.”
Jeff would spend his last days alone until doctors said it was time to say goodbye. With test results still not back, Michelle geared up in PPE and went in to hold her husband’s hand as he took his last breath.
Two days later the test came back negative. “I feel like even though he didn’t have the virus he’s a casualty of it. The whole family is. I think people only see one side of the coin.”
That side is the family. Not numbers.. but people. Like Jeff, who, before he died lived a life for others as a husband, father, grandfather, and military veteran. “He was a tough supervisor but he was fair. All he ever wanted to do was make a difference.”
The virus not only robbed him of his last days with family but a funeral with military honors. The London fire department stepping up big to give him a heroes processional.
Right now life is a roller coaster and rather than remembering her husband, Michelle is angry and feeling forgotten. She hopes something will change.
“I get it I really do. And I know supplies are running low, but please, put in some kind a policy so people aren’t dying alone. Don’t keep the family members away from their loved ones.”
Every hospital has a different policy for visitation and those policies have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important if you have a loved one in the hospital that you thoroughly research what that policy is. Some hospitals are handling cases on a case by case basis.