This is the bittersweet moment a COVID-19 survivor returned home without her father, after he lost his life to the virus in the ICU where they were both treated.
Regina Wright, 44, was the last family member to see her dad David Wright, 67, when nurses wheeled him past her room at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.
He asked her to focus on beating the deadly infection.
The former 911 dispatcher Regina then had to watch a recording of his funeral from her hospital bed as she recovered from coronavirus.
Mother-of-two Regina finally returned home last Monday [May 18] where her family greeted her with welcome home balloons, shouts of joys and singing.
She said: “It’s bittersweet – I came home, but my dad didn’t.”
Regina went to the ER on March 23 after developing a cough and fever and five days later her father David was taken to hospital with the same symptoms.
She was transferred to the ICU where she was put on a ventilator for two weeks.
Doctors even warned Regina’s mother, Lillian, 66, a retired physical therapist, that she may have to make the decision to stop her daughter’s life support.
“They told my mom she might have to make a decision on whether to pull the plug. The second day my organs started shutting down.”
Medics put Regina on dialysis as the virus attacked her kidneys.
She added: “I woke up not knowing where I was. I looked at the nurse and I realized I couldn’t talk because I still had the ventilator in.
“I thought I was in a dream when the nurse told me I had the coronavirus.
“I asked where my mother was and the nurse said there was a no visitor policy.
“I called my mom and she explained to me that I had COVID and that my dad also had COVID.”
Regina and David were on the same floor in the ICU and although they couldn’t see each other, a nurse helped Regina send messages to her dad.
“I told her to tell him that I loved him.”
One day when David was switching rooms, the nurse brought him by Regina’s room so she could see him.
“I was able to talk to him through the window.
“He told me that he loved me and he encouraged me to stay focussed on getting better.
“I was the last person he was able to talk to.
“A couple of weeks later he lost his life to COVID.
“They allowed us to do a video call with him as they were taking him off the ventilator.
“My mom got a chance to sing to him and we all prayed.
“We spent the last couple of hours of his life with him.”
When Regina was finally discharged, she was given a police escort to her home in Manning, South Carolina.
“I had two police in front of me, two police in the back of me and they stopped traffic for me the whole way through town,” she said.
“When we got to my lane, they put on the sirens and I had people shouting.”
Regina is still battling the after effects of COVID-19.
She added: “I’m walking with a walker.
“My lungs are still not back to their full capacity so I’m on oxygen. I want people to know the danger. Do the social distancing, put the mask on.
“Even if you don’t care about yourself, you could be bringing it home to a grandmother, a mother or a cousin.”