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James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida
Sending a survivor home in style
By Ed Drohan
Thursday, August 27, 2020Even the mask on his face couldn’t stop the smile from showing through.
JAHVH staff gathered near the Spinal Cord Injury Center entrance Aug. 27 to clap and cheer as Veteran Alvin Ordiway made his way out of the hospital for the first time in almost two months. He’d been admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on July 4, spending time in intensive care on a ventilator before battling back.
Ordiway’s last 20 days were spent in rehabilitation, where hospital staff worked to help the Vietnam Veteran overcome the damage done by the virus. He could walk to the end of the third-floor hallway and see the SCI courtyard but longed for some fresh air, he said.
The Veteran’s recovery impressed his caregivers so much that they decided to arrange a “clap out” for him as he prepared to be discharged home. Word was passed and dozens of staff from around the hospital lined both sides of the hall near the SCI entrance to show give Ordiway a proper send off.
After running the gauntlet of clapping and cheering staff, he paused near the entrance to thank everyone.
“Everyone here has been wonderful and I thank you all,” Ordiway said, before joking with everyone. “I hope I never have to see you again!”
Speaking of his wife, Ordiway said, “Right now I have somebody outside that I haven’t seen in 54 days, so I think it’s time for me to go.”