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For the love of family
By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – “It’s overwhelming. Just feels like you are going to explode before you can hug them. Then the joy from actually hugging them brings those tears out.”
This is how Freda Dodson described getting to see her father at Childress Healthcare Center on Thursday, Oct. 1 when they allowed essential caregivers to visit for the first time in months because of COVID-19.
Both of Dodson’s parents were at Childress Healthcare Center until her mom died on Sept. 5. She was allowed to see her dad at the end of August when her mom’s health deteriorated as well as at her mom’s funeral. But she said leaving him there alone in such a vulnerable state and not being able to see him for weeks felt as if she had lost him, too.
“It was pure torture,” Dodson said.
But the torture she and others felt turned into happiness once they were able to see and hug each other.
Childress Healthcare Center Assistant Administer Becky Faulkenberry said it was fantastic to watch.
“The residents are so happy, and the families are excited,” Faulkenberry said. “It’s been so fun. It’s awesome. It makes it all worth it.”
Faulkenberry explained the center is following state guidelines. Each resident is allowed two essential caregivers, who are allowed visits during the week. Visitors and residents can pick the times for their visits.
It’s on a case by case basis, she said. If a resident has a private room, they can meet there. If the resident has a roommate, they go to a designated area.
Faulkenberry added the center is testing employees and residents once a week. The state guidelines require that once the center is COVID-19 free for 14 days, it can apply for more visitations.
Visitation, Dodson said, is so important. She told her dad she was going to hug him so tight his bones were going to break. While she was kidding, she said she felt like she could actually hug him that hard.
“You just need the touch of your loved one,” Dodson said. “We had always taken for granted a kiss or a hug. You can’t describe a touch of a loved one when you haven’t touched them in a few months. God meant for us to be touched.”