A local family is breathing a slight sigh of relief as vaccinations roll out for Cochrane's continuing care residents.
Dave Giesen says that it has been a long and stressful 10 months, having limited contact with his 87-year-old mother Christine Giesen who resides at Bethany Cochrane.
"It's been hard. It's been really hard for my mom too because you know the elderly are feeling lonely sometimes at the best of times," says Giesen. "With what's been going on, there was a stretch there from about March to May or June where she couldn't even see any of us; totally isolated. We did a few window visits which were nice but not the same."
Giesen says that his mother didn't fully understand the restrictions which were put in place, which made it even harder on her. He says that eventually when the restrictions were slightly eased, he and his brother were able to visit their mom in person. He says, however, that the two-person limitation still meant that his children couldn't visit with their grandmother.
Dave's wife, Manouri Giesen also hasn't seen her mother-in-law in person in close to a year. She says that there has always been the worry of Christine contracting COVID, and that family's concerns grew leading up to the holiday season.
"It was just in December that a staff member at Bethany Cochrane came down with the virus and then there was a total lockdown where Dave wasn't even allowed to go in and see mom right before Christmas," she says. "Luckily within a few days just before [the holidays] they lifted that total lockdown."
Christine Giesen received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 on January 8. Dave says that he was pleasantly surprised to receive the phone call from Bethany, asking for his consent much sooner than he expected.
"I was actually quite surprised when they called me last week, I thought -wow, so soon! It seemed like it would be a lot further out," says Giesen. "So I called her a couple of days before, I tried to make it clear that you know you're going to be getting a vaccination. She's a tough ole German so she says 'I'm not afraid of needles, bring it on.' They came in the morning and administered the vaccination. I asked - 'did it hurt mom?' and she said oh no it doesn't bother me at all."
The Giesen family is relieved that Christine hasn't had any ill effects from the vaccine, and will be receiving her second dose in the coming weeks. They are all looking forward to the day when restrictions can be lifted and the entire family can be reunited.