Art and Nancy's Story

Art and Nancy wearing Covid masks and holding hands in their wheelchairs in hospital lobby.

COVID survivors Arthur and Nancy Lockard

Arthur Lockard, a semi-retired minister, and his wife, Nancy, attended a small, late summer wedding near their home in Johnstonburg, Pennsylvania.

Several days later, Arthur’s fever spiked to 104. Sweating, short of breath and fearing COVID-19, the 72-year-old drove himself to the emergency room to avoid infecting other family members. Tests confirmed the virus, and then, his world, “became a blur.”

Forty-eight hours after Arthur’s admission, Nancy, 72, was rushed to the hospital with similar symptoms.

In separate rooms, the couple battled for more than a week before stabilizing. Their doctors recommended Select Specialty Hospital – Laurel Highlands for its experience helping medically complex patients, including coronavirus survivors, recover.

They arrived August 7, longing to get back to one another and their family, which includes 18 children and grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A physician-led team created individualized therapeutic plans to help the couple succeed.

Though in isolation, physical and occupational therapists would visit each day to lead arm, leg and core exercises to build strength. Nurses helped them into chairs for meals. As the couple grew stronger, they each began walking in their rooms several times a day. Therapists also educated the couple on energy conservation and breathing techniques as they weaned from nasal oxygen support.

Occupational therapists helped retrain them on grooming, dressing and showering until they could perform activities independently.

“I am so grateful for the expert care provided by physicians, nurses, respiratory and occupational therapists,” Arthur said. “I was encouraged to get up and move around. I feel I recovered much more quickly than I would have than if I’d stayed in the hospital’s intensive care unit.”

In seven days, the couple was well enough to return home, supported by visiting health care workers.

When they saw each other at discharge, Nancy gave her husband a big hug. Arthur’s eyes welled as he talked about rejoining his wife.

“Where you see one, you see the other,” he said. “She is my best friend next to Jesus.”