With a mom on lockdown, wondering and waiting
Cut off from loved ones, not being able to see them and get a sense of how they really are — it can be a trial for the heart.
“We haven't been able to see her,” said Reed Whipple. “I just hope she doesn’t have this coronavirus.”
Ridgefielder Reed Whipple said he and other family members have been unable to see his 83-year-old mother.
It’s been more than two weeks now.
Barbara Whipple is in Laurel Ridge Health Care Center at 642 Danbury Road, next door to the assisted living facility where the 88-year-old who died Wednesday, March 18, lived. She went there after treatment in Danbury Hospital that had nothing to do with COVID-19 or the coronavirus. Now, due to those concerns, she’ll be there indefinitely.
The place is on lockdown.
“She’s quarantined there, so none of us can see her,” said Whipple, who has four sibilings — three living nearby.
“First, you’d go to the desk and they said: No, you couldn't go back there. And then they stopped you from going in the door.
“It’s very frustrating and it’s kind of hurtful — you have a loved one there,” he said. “But I understand that all appropriate precautions have to be taken. It’s airborne, and older people are susceptible to getting this thing. I understand that.”
And with a virus so easily spread, sensible precautions multiply. They serve as protections, but also act as barriers to normal human interaction — seeing friends, family, stopping to chat with acquaintances when you meet on the street.
“I have a daughter who lives in Ridgefield, she has two young boys,” he said. “They’re very cautious because of the baby. Because of us going to the hospital when my mom was there, and the nursing home, my daughter’s quarantined us from the house.
“I’ve got a double-whammy: I can't see my mother, and I can’t see my daughter or my grandkids. You miss them. It’s an empty spot in your heart.
“I understand why they have to do this stuff, the older people are at high risk. But it's tough when you can't see a loved one. We just lost my dad last year, so it's been very hard on my mom. My mom and dad were married 64 years. They were always together.”
Fred Whipple — Barbara’s husband, Reed’s father — died last spring. It has been a long struggle, involving multiple trips to the hospital by ambulance, and eventually a stay there.
“He actually came home to die,” Reed Whipple said. “People don’t realize about the little things people in town do. When my dad passed, the ambulance guys got to know my father really well. When it came time for his funeral and his wake, they all showed up.”
The firefighters who also serve as paramedics and emergency medical technicians on Ridgefield’s ambulances made a big impression on the Whipple family.
“They have a tough job to do,” Reed Whipple said, “and they do it with courage, strength, and compassion.
“A lot of people don’t recognise the good things and good deeds people do in life, when things are bad for people,” he said.
Whipple is trying to focus on the good in the world, despite the spread of the coronavirus that has people practicing social distancing, isolating themselves at home as much as possible.
“It’s scary stuff,” he said.”But the American people are very resilient. I think we’re more united than we’ve been in a long long time.
“You have to do what our parents did for us,” Whipple said.
“You know what I do? I say a lot of prayers.”