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Lifesaving COVID-19 Care at AGH: An Inpatient Testimonial

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Lifesaving COVID-19 Care at AGH: An Inpatient Testimonial

Pictured from left to right: Dr. DiAngela Prunesti, Patty Ames, Bob Ames, Dr. Kathleen Henley

“It was the worst and the most amazing experience of my life.” This is how Bob Ames describes his 30 days as an inpatient at Atlantic General Hospital, a time when he fought to live and then began his slow recovery from COVID-19 in February of 2021.

Originally from York, Pennsylvania, he and his wife, Patty, split their time between a house there and their home in Ocean City. Bob, who has been coming to the resort town since he was a teenager, tries to spend as much of the year as possible in Ocean City. He dreams of the day he can invite the physicians and the staff who took care of him over for a beer at his home bar, which backs up against the bay.

“They saved my life. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

He recalls the day that he dropped to his knees at the house, burning with fever, but remembers very little from the next 10 days. It was touch and go for some time, and Bob wasn’t able to benefit from being surrounded by his loved ones, due to the necessary visitor restrictions during the very height of the pandemic.

His daughter and granddaughter drove down from York to be with Patty and offer whatever support they could. Much of that amounted to taking care of the staff who were taking care of Bob: mainly with cookies and other food, including a pizza party on the day Bob was finally discharged.

Delirious with illness, he said that he never saw the light, but he did talk to the Grim Reaper.

“He said to me, ‘are you ready to go, or do you want to stay and fight?’ I told him I wanted to stay, and he left without me.”

So, he fought on, with the hospital staff standing in as family. He remembers Dr. Kathleen Henley, one of the hospitalists taking care of him, helping him to the window so he could wave to his wife and daughter. Even through his illness, he was touched to find that she was crying, too.

He remembers the nurses, who were so good to him, particularly a traveling nurse named Sherry who came down from New York to provide care during that time.

“I would sing to her, “Sherry,” by The Four Seasons, every time she came by.”

He remembers “the gal in the kitchen” who was worried about him when he stopped eating again.

“She didn’t like that at all,” he said. “She said, ‘what can I get you that you’ll eat?” So, he asked for the open face turkey sandwich that he had had earlier in his stay. The dietary aid (Michelle Smith) assured him that they always had the fixings on hand in the kitchen, and she would bring him an open face turkey sandwich any time he asked for one, regardless of what was on the menu.

“Dr. Henley, Dr. Prunesti, everyone gave 110%. I’m here today because of them.”