From fighting for life to planning a honeymoon
The first signs Glynn Parter contracted COVID-19 came in his sleep. The 64-year-old used a pressurized mask to treat sleep apnea, and it signaled low oxygen levels despite being correctly calibrated. A bevy of unusual symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness and swollen legs prompted him to visit the doctor. A coronavirus test registered negative.
One day later, Glynn’s thinking became impaired and his girlfriend, Edween, took him to the emergency room. Admitted and retested, the results came back positive.
In intensive care, Glynn fell into respiratory failure and was placed on a ventilator, tracheostomy for airway support and feeding tube.
By June, he stabilized enough for Edween to consider the next step in Glynn’s recovery. They chose Select Specialty Hospital – Downriver.
Glynn arrived unable to breathe, eat, speak or move independently.
A physician-led team of nurses, therapists, pharmacists and dietitians created a plan to help Glynn conquer the virus’ long-term effects and return home.
To build lung capacity, respiratory therapists used deep breathing and chest exercises. They also trialed monitored bursts of time off the ventilator. In four days, Glynn liberated from the ventilator. Within two weeks, airway support was discontinued and he returned to independent breathing.
Simultaneously, physical and occupational therapists deployed a mobility program, a series of small movements that retrain muscles following long illness. Therapists got Glynn into a chair to rebuild his core strength. They worked through range of motion exercises and used light hand and leg weights to increase stamina.
Occupational therapists retrained his arms and hands to perform daily living activities, such as brushing teeth and combing hair.
Pharmacists monitored medication and calibrated doses as he improved and dietitians created a meal plan rich in healing nutrients, restoring the body after its viral fight.
By mid-July, Glynn was feeling better. He’d also realized something. After 18 years together, he didn’t want to wait one more day to marry Edween. The couple discussed having a ceremony as soon as he left the hospital.
Edween mentioned the conversation in passing to a nurse, wondering if it could be conducted while Glynn was still in the hospital. Due COVID-19, visitors were limited to one person per patient each day. However, Glynn’s case manager thought it would not hurt to ask for an exception.
Within 24 hours, the hospital CEO, chief nursing officer and case management director were on board. Safety protocols were reviewed and the couple’s pastor confirmed availability and the wedding was on.
The happy news spread through the hospital like wildfire, and the staff pitched in to be a part of the occasion. A cake, flowers and decorations filled an open conference room.
When the big day arrived, Glynn, sporting a tuxedo t-shirt, was wheeled to the makeshift altar where Edween, in a white dress, and the pastor waited. After a brief ceremony, attended by hospital staff, they were pronounced husband and wife.
By the end of July, Glynn was ready for the next phase of recovery. He was discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital to continue building strength and stamina.
His motivation is high as he is looking forward to getting home and enjoying a long-overdue honeymoon.