Since they met each other in a Denver neighborhood over 30 years ago, Tara Reichle and Sara Gallegos have been best friends. Gallegos would do generous things for Rehicle like throw her baby showers, …
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Since they met each other in a Denver neighborhood over 30 years ago, Tara Reichle and Sara Gallegos have been best friends.
Gallegos would do generous things for Rehicle like throw her baby showers, and Reichle grew to know and appreciate Gallegos as a friendly, patient, funny and loving human being.
But unfortunately for Reichle and Gallegos’ family, only hospital staff at Lutheran Medical Center have been able to see Gallegos in person for the past month as she fights COVID-19.
As Gallegos lies on a hospital bed in a coma, hooked up to a ventilator, her family, friends and others have managed to raise over $10,000 through GoFundMe to help support her husband and children.
Before she fell ill to COVID-19, Gallegos, 39, was a frontline worker as a nurse at Villa Manor Care Center in Lakewood — a nursing home that has experienced a lethal outbreak of the virus. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that 17 people have died at the center from the virus, as of June 3.
A June 4 statement from Villa ManorExecutive Director Sara Dent says that currently, 20 residents and 30 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, with 18 residents having recovered from it.
Reichle said Gallegos took care of all the expenses of her family’s household that includes her two children, her step granddaughter and her husband. Gallegos’ husband also works at Villa Manor Care Center, but he was forced to quarantine after she fell ill. And because of the outbreak at the nursing home, he hasn’t been able to go back to work.
“She does everything. She would take the kids everywhere, she worked nights, and then she would do things during the day to work on her own personal health,” said Reichle who helped start the GoFundMe. “How do you function when your other half or your parent can pass away at any moment? I can’t even imagine that. That’s why people like me have stepped in.”
Gallegos’ sister, Samantha Gallegos, said that Gallegos’ skin color is depleted, but she is in a much better place than she was in mid-May.
“The most difficult part has been the waiting. The waiting for any news about whether she is getting better or worse,” said Samantha. “It’s a slow process at this point. The biggest stress is we’re not sure what is going to happen.”
Even though Gallegos hasn’t been able to have visitors, staff at Lutheran Medical Center have been orchestrating Facetime calls for her and her family. Samantha said the calls were difficult at first because of all the equipment Gallegos was hooked up to. But now, she doesn’t have as much tubing going into her mouth.
“It’s still difficult because she can’t speak. It’s been a long time since she supported herself, physically,” said Samantha.
“(Gallegos) is a great nurse. Her patients love her, and I’ve never seen her ever be mean or in a bad mood,” said Theresa Waters, a nurse at Villa Manor Care Center. “She is always pleasant, and the patients love her.”
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