For many, the past seven months have felt like a lifetime.
One could only imagine how long it must have felt for husband and wife James and Phyllis Sabo, a local couple who have been married for 60 years but had not visited each other since March.
The visit was made possible following Marian Regional Medical Center’s Extended Care Center relaxing its visitation policies, allowing one visitor per week by appointment in a designated area.
Mr. Sabo, a former volunteer at Marian who suffered a stroke during a shift, was admitted to MECC for long-term care in 2018. He was used to having frequent visits from Mrs. Sabo, who serves as a volunteer at Mission Hope Cancer Center.
On March 13, Mrs. Sabo visited her husband before her shift with full intentions on coming back afterwards to eat with him. When she returned, however, the center was closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
The following week, Mrs. Sabo was also released from her volunteer position in order to limit the number of people at the hospital. She said she was saddened because the visits had become somewhat of a routine.
“While we were apart, he called me every morning to tell me about the previous evening, and then again at night to tell me about his day, and a few more times in between,” Mrs. Sabo said.
The nurses facilitated FaceTime sessions for the couple, though Mrs. Sabo did grow distasteful of Mr. Sabo’s newly grown beard during the time of separation.
She recently received word that she could visit him again. While she didn’t quite know what to expect, Mrs. Sabo got her temperature checked, donned a mask and gloves and was able to reconnect with her husband, as the two held hands for the first time in months.
“Our visit was short,” said Mrs. Sabo, “but I was so happy to see him and was glad he was doing so well.”
The routine visits will again become routine, as the two have set a standing appointment to meet each week.
“Every night in my prayers, I pray for all of the caregivers at Marian Extended Care Center,” Mrs. Sabo said. “They are so kind and so good to James; they put me at peace knowing he is in great hands.”
Marian Extended Care Center is nationally recognized as Best Nursing Homes for Short Stay Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care by U.S. News and World Report. The 95-skilled bed nursing facility provides sub-acute health care for individuals in need or short-term, intermediate, or long-term care. The facility is conveniently located across from Marian Regional, and provides patients and residents with immediate access to the finest routine and emergency medical care on the Central Coast.