Photo becomes a precious memory forever preserved

Joanne and Bill Bride hold hands at UI Hospitals & Clinics

Bill Bride was under the weather and thought he had a sinus infection last fall. Two days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.

As he scrolled through friend’s’ emails and messages on his phone, Bride noticed a common theme: ‘I’m sorry you have the virus; UI Hospitals & Clinics is the only place to be.’

His wife, Joanne, had studied nursing at the University of Iowa and called ahead to UI Hospitals & Clinics. After packing a few things, Bill and Joanne drove 112 miles from their hometown to Iowa City.

Though Joanne could not accompany him inside due to temporary visitor restrictions, the nurses on Bill’s unit told her they’d fallen in love with the former farmer and began referring to him as “Mr. Bill.”

During video chats, Bill told his son Monte Bride, “They're taking great care of me here.”

Every time I called to check on Dad, I could tell the staff really, really cared. I appreciated that, especially knowing how crazy that time was in November.

— Phil Bride, Joanne and Bill's son

In the hospital together

Several days after Bill was admitted, Joanne tested positive for COVID-19 and joined her husband in the hospital. Though sad his mother was ill too, son Kent Bride was thankful his parents were together.

“Now the staff could easily wheel Mom from her room to Dad’s room for visits,” says Kent.

Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) staff helped the family by providing timely updates when their loved ones couldn’t be at the bedside. A doctor snapped a photo of the couple, who were preparing to celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary. That photo is now a precious memory forever remembered and preserved by the family and MICU faculty/staff.

While his parents were hospitalized, Kent says he knew UI Hospitals & Clinics had countless families checking on their loved ones with COVID-19.

“They treated us like we were their only family dealing with it,” he says. “I don't know how any staff during those times was able to do what they do. I’m so grateful because it just provided a lot of peace for us.”

Thank you card from the Bride family to UI Health Care staff

Human touch and connection

Eventually, Joanne was discharged, and Bill continued to receive care.

“The staff was always good, whether it was the doctors or the nursing staff,” says Joanne. “If there was anything positive they could tell me, they did.”

Though Bill lost his fight with COVID-19, his family found comfort through those who cared for him until the end.

“The caregivers who were with us were just unbelievable,” says Phil. “Staff members joined with us in Dad's room. The PA was emotional along with us; she was crying. That human touch and connection meant everything.”