Card shower sought for Hillsboro man with COVID-19

By Mindy Kepfield

A Hillsboro mother is asking the community to shower her 22-year-old son with cards when he arrives home after a battle with COVID-19.

Tenata McGinley hasn’t seen her son in more than two weeks, but she wants him to be cheered up when he gets home.

“He loves cards,” she said. “That will just make his day.”

Ian, who is autistic and has a low white blood cell count, is doing much better after weeks getting well at Ascension Via Christi, St. Francis in Wichita, but he has had a hard road.

So has McGinley.

Ian was placed in intensive care and moved to a COVID-19 unit where visitors still are banned. She has been keeping abreast of her son’s condition by making thrice-daily calls to the nursing staff.

The last time she checked Ian was awake watching a movie about fire trucks and is breathing without the aid of a ventilator. The nurse told her staff no longer felt the need to check his oxygen levels as they have had to these past few weeks.

“As soon as a bed opens up on the open COVID floor I’ll be able to go up,” she said. “He’s on the home run. I’m blessed that he making it. Hopefully, soon he can finish getting better at home with the people that know him well.”

She took Ian in the Monday after Christmas when Ian began running a fever and had a cough.

Doctors told her to give him zinc, vitamins C and D and over-the-counter Sudafed to treat his congestion.

She called emergency medical services when Ian’s cough worsened, his fever spiked, and he looked like he had trouble standing.

“It just took a 100 percent turn for the worse… just out of nowhere,” McGinley said. “He just went downhill fast.”

A nurse at Hillsboro Hospital told McGinley Ian was a high-needs patient and asked her to call an ambulance.

Emergency medical services came and got Ian at the house.

McGinley kissed her son on the forehead as paramedics loaded his stretcher into the ambulance and watched him go.

“I told him ‘Mommy can’t go with you, but the good Lord’s with you,” she said. “That’s the hardest thing – to put your child in God’s hands completely not knowing where he is going to end up. I never want to do that again.”

As the pandemic winds into its second year, many have forgotten that loved ones cannot visit patients in intensive care or certain COVID-19 units.

McGinley said Ian has a long ride in an ambulance before he arrived at an available bed.

Emergency services transported Ian to Newton Medical Center and were told the emergency room was full.

He was transported to the emergency room at Via Christi in Wichita where doctors placed him on a ventilator.

A nurse who phoned McGinley told McGinley that Ian was fighting for his life.

After several weeks and many prayers Ian appears to be on the mend.

Doctors advised McGinley not to vaccinate her son because of his low white blood count, but she and her 14-year-old son, Alex, will both stand in line for shots.

“I still have questions about it, but I definitely don’t want my boy going through this again,” she said.

In the meantime, McGinley is counting the days until she can see him.

“I am feeling really positive he could be out of there by the week’s end or maybe next week,” she said.

Send cards to Ian McGinley at 206 N. Lincoln St., Hillsboro KS 67063.

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