He couldn't be there beside his wife because of hospital protocols. But that didn't stop him from showing his wife he's there for her.
It was immensely nerve-wracking for a woman from Port Orange to lie in a hospital bed for days on without knowing what tomorrow might bring. Though she couldn't meet her loved ones during her stay at the hospital, she felt the undying support of her husband, rooting for her and expressing his love for her from outside the hospital.
The woman named Donna Crane had contracted COVID-19 in mid-August. She eventually fell so ill that she couldn't breathe properly and needed to be hospitalized for acute respiratory failure.
"It is the most terrifying thing you will ever experience in your life, just laying there not being able to take a breath," Donna told FOX10 News.
Her husband, Gary Crane, took her to the emergency room. "That was the last I saw of her for 10 days," Gary recalled.
For the next 10 days, Donna had to stay alone in the hospital without any of her loved ones around. Because of the hospital's protocols, visitors weren't allowed in the ICU, and this meant Donna couldn't have her husband sitting by the edge of her hospital bed.
"I couldn't see him, and that was the hardest part is not being able to have somebody there," Donna said. "You would lay there in bed at night and you would hear code after code after code being called, and you just wonder what's going to happen."
Later, Donna was diagnosed with double pneumonia because of the virus. "It tore my lungs up," she told Good Morning America.
"It was really rough on both of us," said 61-year-old Gary, a lieutenant with Marion County Fire Rescue. "...That was the hardest part -- just not knowing. I would call the nurses and they could only give me basic stuff like her vitals."
Even if he couldn't be there right next to her, Gary still wanted to provide her some comfort while she stays at the hospital. So he went off to a craft store to get some materials and made a sign that said: "I love you."
For the next 10 days, Gary showed up at the hospital and stood in the parking lot with the sign. And from her hospital room on the 10th floor, Donna would look out the window and see her devoted husband showing her that he was always there for her.
"I just wanted her to know I was there," Gary said.
The first time she saw the sign, Donna said she "just started bawling."
"My nurses were very sweet but they didn't replace my Gary," Donna said. "Gary coming with a sign every day to tell me he loves me was amazing. He was doing everything in his power to be there."
Until the day she was discharged, Gary continued showing up with the sign to put his ill wife at ease. "I just wanted her to know that [I love her] because I know she was going to be scared and I couldn't be there with her, and I just wanted her to know that I'm there," Gary said, as quoted by FOX10 News.
After the 10-day hospital stay, Donna was able to return back home to her husband and is glad she survived the unnerving ordeal. She also has something new to look forward to and said, "I just found out, my daughter is expecting. We're going to be grandparents, and that went through my mind. I want to hold my [grand]baby]."
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