ATLANTA — Four-year-old Owen stopped playing with his trucks, to bow his head and pray for his Opa to get better.
Chuck Paulus is hospitalized with COVID-19 and has been on life support for a month. Owen's grandma, aunt, uncle, and little cousin all had the virus as well.
Now that they're all on the mend, they want to send a message of hope to other families fighting the disease.
There has been a lot of yelling on the COVID-19 floor where Chuck Paulus is hospitalized.
"Dad's a huge Ohio State fan, and very hard of hearing, so we have told the nurses, that if they yell OH, my Dad will reply IO if he can.," said Chuck's daughter, Brandee Hanes. "So, that's another way that Dad knows we are in contact with the nurses and staffing, because how else would they know to say that?"
They haven't been able to see him since they dropped him off at the hospital a month ago.
He was on life support and in a coma until just a few days ago.
"Dad is doing really, really good," she said. "We have had more days of progress and that is a blessing -- an absolute blessing."
Chuck's wife, Nancy got sick right after he did and ended up in the hospital for nine days.
His son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter all got sick, too.
"Every one of us, out of all four of us -- our chief complaint was something different," said Chuck's son, Bob Paulus. "We were able to interconnect that I had something similar with my mom or my wife had something similar with my dad, but at the time, we weren' able to connect all the dots."
They were never able to get their 18-month-old daughter tested, but they all tested positive for COVID-19.
"I had fully recovered by the time I got the results that I did have it," said Diana Paulus.
They don't have a clue how their family got it.
Bob is a firefighter. Diane is a nurse anesthetist at Grady Memorial Hospital. Chuck and Nancy do a lot of outreach with their church. So, they could have been exposed in any number of ways.
But they want people to focus on the recovery, not the illness.
"We hear a lot of doom and gloom and don't hear the success stories," Nancy said. "And there are some. Like the Bible says, this too, shall pass."
They're determined to bring Chuck back home soon, so he can cheer for Ohio State from his living room.
The family wants everyone who is sick to know they are cheering for them to get better.
"Just know that you're loved and supported because we have been there and just know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel," Brandee said.
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