Gentry Family Shares COVID-19 Experience
Art and Lisa Gentry of Amory celebrated Christmas with their family Jan. 30—a little late but sweeter than ever. Art, 70, went home from North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo on Jan. 28 after a 46-day stay caused by COVID-19. Lisa was diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after Thanksgiving, and Art soon followed. About a week in, he developed pneumonia. “(The virus) started out mild but then it kicked in,” Art says. “Next thing I knew, I was in the hospital.” He spent 10 days between NMMC’s COVID unit and COVID ICU—which meant no visitors. “I really didn’t know who I was or what I was doing there,” Art says. “The staff really kept me grounded. Having someone to talk to was amazing.” “Those were the worst 10 days of my life,” Lisa adds, “but we had a wonderful case manager who kept me up to date. Art’s doctor also called me at home with updates.” The Gentrys believe NMMC’s aggressive treatment—which included remdesivir and convalescent plasma—kept him off the ventilator and helped save his life.
On Christmas Eve, Art was moved to NMMC’s Stepdown Unit and Lisa was finally able to join him. She happened to be studying Psalm 91 at the time and was struck by verse 3: “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” Unfamiliar with “pestilence,” she looked it up and found that it means “a deadly epidemic.” One day when the Gentrys were napping, pulmonologist Dr. Robert McEachern stopped by. Not wanting to wake them, he left a simple note: “Continuing to pray. Read Psalm 91.”
Art’s lungs grew stronger, but his body was extremely weak from being bedridden. He transferred to NMMC’s Rehabilitation Institute in early January. “I couldn’t even get out of the wheelchair then,” Art says. “I was incapable of standing on my own when I got there. Within a week, I was standing and taking some steps with a walker.” Physical, occupational and speech therapists worked with Art for three weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute.
Finally, Art was strong enough to return home, where he continues therapy through NMMC’s Home Health. “I cannot say enough about how well they treated me with professional but loving care,” Art says of his lengthy hospital stay.
“The staff took the extra time to get to know us. They were our family,” Lisa adds. “As bad as it was, it was still full of blessings.”