Celebrating a Local COVID-19 Survivor
May 01, 2020
Submitted By UnityPoint Health
The Drockelman family and Pastor Grey captured hearts across the central Illinois community. Now, there’s another reason to celebrate this story of love and kindness as the family welcomes their father, a 71-year-old COVID-19 survivor, home.
On Monday, April 20th, David Drockelman was discharged with an honor walk from UnityPoint Health with cheers and applause from team members after battling for his life for nearly a month in the ICU.
The story started on March 30th, when Jonathon Drockelman submitted a general inquiry to the UnityPoint Health website. Hundreds of miles away, he was desperate to deliver a message to his sedated father on a vent in the ICU with COVID-19.
“It’s so hard to be far away and not be able to be there for him. If someone could please tell him that his son, Jonathon, loves him very much, that would really mean the world to me. I know he is sedated and on a ventilator. I just need him to hear that. Thank you so much for everything,” wrote Jonathon Drockelman.
“Not being able to see or talk to his father was tearing him apart,” says Christie Zachman, UnityPoint Health Patient Experience Coordinator.
“The next morning, Ms. Zachman called me. I was blown away. She was so understanding, loving, and helpful,” he says.
Zachman explained UnityPoint Health was working on facilitating virtual visits for patients and their loved ones. During their time of need, Pastor Grey stepped up to accommodate the family’s virtual visit without hesitation. Pastor Grey worked overtime to ensure this family talked and saw their father virtually.
While the Drockelmans are still only reuniting with their father from a distance, they have the comfort of knowing he is home and safe.
His wife called the ICU team after his first night home, happy to report he continues to do well. The family appreciated the communication and constant contact with their father, as well as ability to create new memories during a hard situation. One highlight was Facetiming their father to sing their special birthday song.
“Working with Pastor Grey has been a beautiful experience. He was very willing to help me FaceTime my father. His patience and understanding have truly warmed my heart. The first time the family talked to my dad was a very humbling experience. I know we all had a sense of relief to be able to speak to him. The whole experience in working with Pastor Grey, the nurses, doctors, and Ms. Zachman was so therapeutic for us. We honestly couldn’t thank them enough for not only what they’re doing for us but what they’re doing for all the patients and their loved ones,” Drockelman says.
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