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Hospital organizes 'dinner date' for couple battling COVID-19 in separate units

They've been married for 63 years
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Posted at 11:49 AM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 11:50:04-05

The pandemic is far from over. Hospital workers are still taking care of very sick patients 24/7, but they are also finding time to do more to lift people's spirits.

At one Illinois hospital, staff organized a “dinner date” for a couple battling COVID-19 in separate parts of the facility.

“We don't have the opportunity with COVID to celebrate often, you know we don't have a whole lot of joys now, in health care. So, when we have those opportunities to just kind of go back to being ‘normal,’ if you will, you know, a couple being able to sit down and have dinner together, have a visitor in the room even, have some familiar human contact, that's huge,” said Kim Presson, a nurse at HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital.

Presson was caring for 86-year-old Terry Martinez when she learned the woman’s 93-year-old husband, Frank, was also in the hospital, but in a separate area. Both were being treated for COVID-19.

The two have been married 63 years and were worried about each other, so Presson and other hospital staff helped organize a dinner date for them.

“You know, we wheeled him into the room and the first, I mean he just lit up, you know they're wearing masks, he was wearing a mask for transport at the time. And so, he just lit up and you could just see it even the smile in his eyes and he says to her, ‘oh sweetheart you look beautiful,’ and you know, my heart exploded,” said Presson.

The couple is still in the hospital recovering from COVID-19.

Health care workers are still asking the public to take the pandemic seriously. Presson asked everyone to continue social distancing, masking and to get vaccinated when it's their turn.

“I didn't understand the science of it, and then we had some great pharmacists, some great infectious disease doctors come and speak to the staff and explain it and once I had the education that I needed, it was a no brainer and it was great, it was great to be able to be vaccinated and take a step in doing something that's going to hopefully make such a significant difference. It's so important,” said Presson.