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We met 34 years ago at a Christmas party and fell in love. In January this year, Jean-Francois was diagnosed as having a slipped disc in his lower back and was admitted to hospital for an operation. He was doing fine until he contracted septicaemia and was moved to intensive care.
One morning a doctor called me to say Jean-Francois was in isolation, as Covid-19 microbes had been detected in his throat. I was devastated as it was often reported in the news how people died alone, so I worried this would happen to him. We kept up regular contact with WhatsApp and I often sat outside the ward at the hospital. It sounds ridiculous, but I just had to feel he was close.
One magic day a kind and compassionate doctor allowed me five minutes to go to his room, although this was strictly forbidden. Those five minutes sustained me for the long separation ahead.
Jean-Francois was then moved to an orthopaedic clinic to work on his mobility. His room looked on to the parking lot, where I went every day so we could wave at each other while talking on WhatsApp.
Then restrictions eased. On the 70th day of not seeing each other in the flesh, he was wheeled outside where we did our best to communicate, still not touching and keeping a distance.
The following week we had half an hour together in the hospital canteen. We were separated by long tables, wearing masks, no touching. There were 15 or so other couples. The noise was deafening as everyone was shouting across the tables. I left in tears.
On 10 August he returned home, not the same man who had left in January. He had got ill at the wrong time. Now, after six weeks, he has improved remarkably and we are adjusting to our new lives with his reduced mobility. We are witnesses to the strength of love which sustained us during this long tsunami, and feel gratitude the bond between us is stronger than ever.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘Quite a year’: couples on being separated by the Covid pandemic | World news