CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Exactly two weeks ago we introduced you to a respiratory therapist from Camillus who went back to St. Joseph’s Hospital to help COVID-19 patients.
NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla is sharing the other piece to this story, how those on the front lines aren’t the only heroes in this fight.
Jason and Cheryl Meany made the decision for him to go back to the hospital together, but every day he walks through those doors is another day he’s away from home and away from his family.
“It’s taxing in a lot of ways and it’s hard he’s not around,” said Cheryl.
The Meanys have three kids and Cheryl’s 65-year-old mother lives with them as well.
As a respiratory therapist, Jason handles the patient’s ventilators, which means he has direct exposure. So when he went back to the hospital he moved out to protect his family.
“It’s super emotional,” said Cheryl. Missing her husband, learning to teach her students remotely, and raising three kids — it’s a lot to juggle.
“We actually have a pretty good system in place,” said Jason. He calls his family every day before he goes in for the night shift and some mornings, he’ll stop by the house to have breakfast with them from a distance.
His girls will sometimes draw him pictures and he’ll talk to his wife, and for those few moments, it’s almost as if nothing’s changed. But when he gets back in his truck and drives away, their new reality sets back in.
“I was standing on the other side of the door and he kissed the glass and that’s the closest physical contact that we had since he left and so that part, it’s so hard for someone who is just like a hugger,” said Cheryl.
“Some days I’ve got more hope than others, some days I’m a little worn down,” said Jason.
At this point, there’s no real plan for Jason to come home. “It’s not like we can say ‘oh in a couple of weeks, oh in a month you know’ there is no plan,” said Cheryl. Still, they believe the front lines are exactly where Jason should be.
“All of the normal family things that we don’t get to do right now, those are the things that I’m hopeful for and waiting for,” said Cheryl.
Until then, they’ll keep having breakfast from afar, talking on the phone, and holding onto the silver lining that their healthcare hero will one day, be back home.
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For more local news, follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter @NeSommavilla.