The world has changed dramatically since 2019 when we first heard about a deadly virus originating from China. Since then, millions of people, both young and old, around the globe has succumbed to COVID-19.
In America alone, over 764,000 people have died, with hundreds of thousands more fighting for their lives. One of those individuals was 56 year old Donna Crane, from Port Orange, Florida, who tested positive, even though she and her husband Gary had been vaccinated a week prior to receiving the bad news.
Appearing on the nationally syndicated Good Morning America show, Donna re-lived her life threatening ordeal. It began about 10 days after she was first diagnosed with the virus. It was about 5 days away from the standard 14-day at home quarantine when the virus would supposedly lose its effectiveness and life could get back to being normal.
However, that wasn’t the case. In fact, Donna’s condition became suddenly worse.
“Gary heard me gurgling at night trying to breathe,” Donna said. “He woke me up, got the scuba tanks out of the garage and was blowing air, trying to get me to breathe that way. That wasn’t working and then he was like, ‘All right, we’re going to the hospital.'”
Gary quickly packed Donna into his truck and sped to the hospital. When they arrived at the emergency room doctors immediately tested Donna’s oxygen levels which registered critically low. She was immediately admitted and taken into the intensive care unit.
“That was the last I saw Gary,” she said. “He couldn’t go back there with me.”
Donna added that she was later diagnosed with double pneumonia as a result of COVID-19.
“It tore my lungs up,” she said.
“It was really rough on both of us,” Gary, 61, a lieutenant with Marion County Fire Rescue, told GMA. “It was the last I saw her for ten days. That was the hardest part, just not knowing. I would call the nurses and they could only give me basic stuff like her vitals.”
Gary struggled to find a way where he could communicate with Donna. Then the idea of making a sign suddenly popped into his head. He knew Donna’s hospital room was adjacent to the parking lot, so he dashed to an arts and craft store where he purchased crafting materials and began creating a large enough sign that simply read “I LOVE YOU.”
Once complete, Gary got into his truck and drove to the hospital parking lot and held up the sign in front of Donna’s window where she could easily see it from her 10th floor window.
“I just wanted her to know I was there,” Gary said.
'I love you:' Husband holds up sign for 10 days to support wife battling COVID-19 in ICUhttps://t.co/xM6Jk30UcM— WPDE ABC15 (@wpdeabc15) September 8, 2021
However, he first needed to get Donna’s attention that he was outside in the hospital parking lot, so he began texting her to come to the window and look out. At first, Donna wasn’t sure what Gary was holding up, but when she did she “just started bawling.”
Donna was even more surprised when Gary texted her the next day and told her to once again look out the window. There he was, in the exact same spot as the day before, holding up his “I LOVE YOU” sign. That ritual continued for 10 straight days, regardless of weather conditions.
Every morning at precisely 8 a.m. two nurses would enter Donna’s room and assist in propping her up from her ICU bed helping her to look out the window where her husband Gary would hold up his sign.
Donna recalled; “My nurses were very sweet but they didn’t replace my Gary,” she said.
“Gary coming with a sign every day to tell me he loves me was amazing. He was doing everything in his power to be there.”
The couples experience with the deadly virus convinced them that although Donna contracted COVID, and had a rough time, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may have actually saved her life.
“The doctor said if Donna hadn’t been vaccinated that it could’ve been a lot worse,” Gary said.
Donna added; “They said the bit of the vaccine that I had in me is what helped me the most.”