Once again COVID-19 cases at Hunt County Regional Medical Center are on the rise. Once again the hospital is taking steps to address the increase, such as converting its post anesthesia care unit to inpatient care, just as it did during the last surge back in late summer and early fall.
Since March 2020, doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, CNAs and others at Hunt County Regional have manned the front lines in what might seem to them a never-ending battle against COVID-19. They’ve done this while also dealing with their regular day-to-day duties – delivering babies and treating illnesses, injuries and diseases.
I don’t claim to speak for employees at Hunt County Regional, but I can only surmise that some are feeling a little worn down, maybe a little frustrated by a low local vaccination rate, maybe a little underappreciated for all they’ve gone through over the past 22 months.
I know of one guy, however, whose appreciation for the hospital and its staff knows no bonds.
Meet Don Burns.
Don, a 58-year-old former painter and home remodeler from West Tawakoni, arrived at the hospital in early October with a serious medical condition. Don tells me that Mark Grimes, his cousin and someone to whom he owes much gratitude, insisted he go to the hospital because Don was experiencing chest pains and trouble with his hips.
“My vascular surgeon found two blood clots hiding behind my kidneys,” says Don. “It was pretty serious, because if she hadn’t found them, they were going to have to cut my legs off. That’s why my hips were hurting. I wasn’t getting enough blood to my legs.”
After several surgical procedures to address the clots and the circulation in his legs, Don eventually began therapy. He basically had to relearn how to walk, he told me.
“I came in walking; I want to go out walking. That’s what they’ve got me doing,” says Don. For their efforts, he gave special praise to his team of therapists and singled out Carolyn Thomason, Gabriella Dean and Colton Garrett.
For the past 100 days or so, Don has observed just how hard and how efficiently the staff works at Hunt County Regional, and they do it all while managing to stay professional and positive around their patients.
“They work 12-hour shifts, and it just blows me away how happy they all are,” says Don.
Some nurses have offered him clothes. A few have dropped by his room to pray with him. Others have offered to take him to church after he’s discharged, Don tells me.
“Overall, I think it’s a wonderful hospital, and the staff – everybody treats you like family,” says Don, who expects to be discharged Monday.
Don will go live in a cabin that his cousin Mark has set up for him near Caddo Mills.
As his time at Hunt County Regional winds down, Don reflected on his stay and was struck by the devotion the hospital’s staff has to patient care.
“Man, it’s been an eye-opening experience.”