by Stu Burge
someone you love is suffering, there are few things in life that hurt
more than being unable to help them. In this particular case, not simply
unable to help, but prohibited.
Right now, in Roanoke, VA, there’s a
story unfolding that is shredding the life of an Arizona woman.
Robin Craig is AZELO’s volunteer
social media coordinator. Her mother is in the South Roanoke Nursing
Home where the coronavirus is out of control, indiscriminately killing
patients and staff. Because of Virginia lock down orders, no visitors
are permitted in the facility. Even her mom’s hospice nurse is limited
to one visit every 14 days. And because her mother, soon to be 94,
suffers from congestive heart failure and mild dementia, she is unable
to use a cell phone without assistance.
To compensate, Robin
mails beautiful notes of support every day in hopes that a staff member
will deliver them. Ten days ago she learned that her mother had tested
positive for the coronavirus and had been quarantined in her room. Every
day since, Robin has persisted in contacting a staff member by phone to
probe for essential information about her mother’s condition. The calls
usually provide Robin with little information or comfort Robin because
she remains worried about previous issues in her mom’s daily care that
arose well before the novel coronavirus hit the U.S. and began targeting
nursing homes with laser accuracy.
feels scared and frustrated when she reads the following on the front
page of the Roanoke Times: “Seven residents of the South
Roanoke Nursing Home have died since an outbreak of COVID-19 swept
through the Franklin Road facility.” The newspaper adds that three
residents are hospitalized and 33 others who have tested positive remain
in the facility, including Robin’s mom,who so far is symptom-free.
"Additionally, at least 28 staff members are infected."
While the federal
government has yet to release numbers on how the coronavirus has
ravaged the elder care industry, The Associated Press maintains its own
tally based on state health departments and media reports, finding
22,101 deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities nationwide.
Last weekend alone New York state reported more than 1,700 previously
undisclosed coronavirus deaths at nursing homes and adult care
the residents (at the South Roanoke facility) are fortunate to be able
to make daily calls to keep in touch and share about their care. I am
unfortunately not one of them,” Robin said. “My mother can’t use a phone
or a tablet computer, so this requires assistance from the staff. With
staffing shortages, this is next to impossible and puts many of us into
this black hole of communication and the family suffers from the fear of
the unknown, and it’s a horrible feeling to have each and every day.”
there is no doubt that Robin’s thoughts will be with her mom on Mother’s
Day this Sunday, May 10. And again on May 11, and again May 12…