Covid Without Loved Ones


My grandma Diana Bald got to meet her great-granddaughter Lily on August 22 at her house. She was very excited to finally meet Lily and see her in person.

March 13 changed all of our lives and we will forever remember that day and the Covid 19 pandemic. However, I will never forget the dates that changed my family’s lives. When we went into lockdown, we were uncertain of how long we would be in quarantine and when we would get to see friends and family again.


While in quarantine, we celebrated Easter and I also celebrated my 17th birthday on April 15. On my birthday, my sister and grandparents dropped off gifts and I blew out my candles with my sister on FaceTime. I had a pretty fun birthday even amongst Covid I played games over FaceTime with my sister and we spent the night laughing and spending time together even though we were apart. When I saw my family dropping off gifts and on FaceTime, I had no idea that my life would change two days later. 


Two days later on April 17, my mom came home to tell me that my grandma had a stroke, fell and hit her head, and was headed to UPMC Mercy Hospital. The first couple of days we were told that it didn’t look good and for us to pray, because she had a large brain bleed that took longer to stop since she is on a blood thinner. 


Because of Covid, nobody was able to be in the hospital with her or visit her. Since we weren’t able to see her we FaceTimed the nurse, on their IPad, so that we could talk to her. It scared me when we first saw her because she looked distorted. She wasn’t able to see us because the stroke affected her vision. We then started to FaceTime her every other Sunday to talk to her and to see her turn back into her old self. 


In May, my grandpa was able to go to the hospital and see her in person because he was her lifeline in case anything happened to her. My grandpa would try to visit her every weekend because he missed her. We started to gain more and more hope each time he went because he told us about her progress and how well she was doing. Physical therapy helped her walk because her left side was affected by the stroke. She also had speech therapy because her speech became very slurred and was harder to understand. We continued to FaceTime her from April to mid June. Everytime we got to see her I felt a mix of sadness from not seeing her for so long and happiness to get to see her get stronger. 


After weeks of speech therapy we were starting to be able to understand her, so when we would FaceTime her she would talk more because she had a lot to say. The one time we were talking to her she kept bringing up her past in the military but associating it with what was going on in the present. She also kept associating family and friends as her doctors and physical therapists. I was very excited to be able to understand what she had to say instead of just getting to look at her. 


On June 24, my grandmother was discharged from the hospital and put into a nursing home so she could continue to get stronger to be able to go home. We were hoping that we would be able to get to visit her in the nursing home, but sadly we were not allowed to. While in the nursing home, she had to quarantine for two weeks because she came from a hospital where she fell out of bed a couple of times. When she was quarantined, we were unable to communicate with her completely because she couldn’t work her phone and none of the nurses were able to FaceTime with us. 


My grandpa got my grandma a new phone because her Iphone was too hard for her to figure out, so she got a flip phone. But she started to call people randomly. Once, she called my mom to tell her that she was breaking out of the nursing home and wanted my mom to tell my grandpa to wait for her out back. She never knew who she’d be calling so her first question was, “Who is this?”


The first time she called me was at the end of July. We talked about how much she hated the food there and how much she wanted to come home. She also asked me what I wanted for my birthday because I didn’t know what I wanted from her and my grandpa. I just told her not to worry about it, but she continues to bring it up now as well. I was sad that she hadn’t called me until July but I was very happy to get to talk to her. 


She became better at walking while in the nursing home, her physical therapist was very excited each time she cleared a step. Because she became much stronger in the nursing home, she was able to come home on August 6. We were all eager to see her again because all of us except for my grandpa hadn’t seen her in person since March and April.  


We went to visit her for the first time in five months at my grandparent’s house. But she was asleep so we stayed for a little bit and let her sleep. We went back the next day with her sister Charlene. She was so excited to see us and we were super excited to see her and be able to talk to her in person. We had a birthday party for her that Sunday because everyone was in town to see her. We spent the day out at the pool and had ice cream cake to celebrate her. Whenever she was blowing out her candles we FaceTimed my sister because she couldn’t be there, since she had given birth a week before the party. It was such a wonderful time getting to see her, hug her, and talk to her in person.