He knew just what I needed – it just gave me so much encouragement

Tena Warkentien, Patient

Tena Warkentien has been undergoing care for COVID-19 at Bronson Methodist Hospital for the last 10 days. On Thursday, her husband called her on her cellphone. When two nurses appeared at her bedside to help her to the window, she didn’t know what to expect.

What she saw was her husband of 40 years, and the sweetest gesture she could imagine.

“He knew just what I needed,” says Tena. “I hadn’t seen him in 12 days. He had picked flowers from the side of the road and had made me a sign using hog chalk, because he’s a farmer, and that’s what he had.”

“It just gave me so much encouragement. We are so very close and to not be able to touch has been really hard. I love him so much. He is such a sweet man.”

Tena explains there is more to the visit than a husband visiting his sick wife. The family is also grieving the loss of Tena’s father from COVID-19.

“My dad was 96-years old. We had both come to the hospital on the same day,” Tena says. Her sister, who lived with their father, had been admitted with COVID-19 days earlier. Both of the daughters were able to visit his bedside before he passed away on Wednesday.

“He was an amazing man,” says Tena.  “He had still been driving, mowing his lawn and exercising three times a week. But after he got COVID-19, he declined quickly. He didn’t want the doctor to put him on a ventilator.”

Both Tena and her sister are starting the long road to recovery. “The doctors and nurses have been great. I’ve been very pleased with my care. It’s just so exhausting, but I’m coming along. I feel like I‘m making progress every day.”

Tena says she wants people to understand what they’ll be up against if they get the virus. “This is the most horrible, wicked thing I have ever been through. I hope people stay home and be safe.”

She is looking forward to getting to be home, too, so she can be back with her husband once again.

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