An excited wife waits at the window. Save for the five minutes they saw each other as he was loaded onto the ambulance headed for rehab, Jerry and Karen Blais of Windsor Locks, have been separated for 51 days by COVID-19.
“Hi," Karen says into her phone while waving at her husband through a pane of glass.
Through a window at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, adorned in hearts as a tribute to their nurses, Karen sees her husband for the first time since he arrived there 10 days prior.
“They took the trach out? Wow! That’s so exciting," she tells Jerry.
A painful part of this pandemic is that loved ones can’t be by a patient’s bedside as they recover. Gaylord Hospital is giving families a window into their progress.
“He looks really good," Karen said after the 15-minute meeting.
She brought their nieces Shannon and Delaney for the visit.
“I love your sign. Ohhhh I love it," Jerry told them.
“Even though we can’t hug him and touch him it meant everything," said Shannon, who lives in Enfield.
There was a time, not too long ago, that the family was praying for miracles.
“He was at 100% oxygen on the ventilator and they didn’t know if he was going to make it," Karen recalled.
“It was devastating. Even now, it brings tears to your eyes," added Shannon, trying to hold back those tears.
Now, they’re preparing for Jerry to make a full recovery.
“Can you eat your paseggti," Delaney asked through the window.
“I can eat spaghetti," Jerry replied with a chuckle.
Karen said she's penciling in June 13 as a possible release date for Jerry.
“I’m just going to give him a huge hug," said Karen.
Shannon said she can’t wait to make music together again. Ever since she was little she’s been playing piano beside her uncle, who plays guitar, at their church.
“He says, 'Hey Shan?' And we pause and then I say, 'Hey what?' and he says 'I love you.'"
At the window the three gave the I love you sign in sign language, and Jerry gave it back.
“Just to be able to say I love you to him was special," said Shannon.
Those three little words, "I love you," had never meant so much.
“I’m just so thankful that we got to be here today. This was the best," she added.