SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. You might be tired of hearing that by now, but a Springfield woman who lost her husband to COVID-19 has a request: think of others — not yourself.
Ozarks First Reporter David Chasanov spoke with Jane Luper. Luper’s husband Fred died in Cox South’s COVID-19 ICU ward a few months ago. CoxHealth actually gave its followers a look inside that unit today.
The hospital says more beds and nurses are on the way. But, Jane says the caregivers there now are doing their best.
“I could not say enough about the staff at Cox South,” Luper said. “The communication with the nurses was fabulous. [Fred] said they were kind. [They] always wanted to do what he wanted. He said it was always dark, so they started turning the light on for him.”
Jane says Fred was sick for two weeks in August. At one point, he couldn’t breathe or get up. So, Jane called 911, and Fred was taken to the hospital. Then, he tested positive for COVID-19. Fred didn’t have any underlying health conditions – but he was 67-years-old.
Fred laid in an ICU bed for three weeks – one of which he spent on a ventilator. Jane could only text him because of his breathing problems. The last text she got from him was nine days before he died. The text said, “I can’t wait to come home.”
“It was really hard,” Luper said. “I read those texts a lot. I’m a very upbeat, happy person, but I get angry because people don’t take it seriously. And I say I hope and pray you don’t have to suffer like we have. Because if you don’t take it seriously, obviously, you’re a walking time bomb to me.”
Jane got to say goodbye to Fred in person, but not before putting on PPE. She says she sang to him, told him how much she loved him and how much she’s going to miss him. Jane says it’s been a challenging two months.
“I don’t want anyone to live through what I’ve lived through the last three months,” Luper said. “I just don’t want anyone to because it’s absolutely awful.”