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Local man recalls pandemic hardships on elderly mother; Hopeful about COVID-19 vaccine

David Selman web.jpg
Posted at 3:00 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 19:26:17-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Every week, David Selman visits his 86-year-old mother Dorthy at the Alameda Oaks Nursing Center. On Sundays, he brings her lunch, even though they can only see each other through a glass window.

“When COVID first started, I’d go around to her window, and visit through the window in her room. Then, we started visiting in the entryway, bringing her lunch. Of course, we couldn’t communicate because they had the glass barrier,” Selman said.

Selman said the beginning of the pandemic was tough for his mother, not being able to have personal interaction. Sometimes, he said, she didn't want to get out of bed or eat when he came to visit.

“It was kind of hard because my mother really relied on me to help her and just be her social life. When COVID hit, it was kind of like she felt she had done something wrong, like she was in prison and it was her fault,” he said. “It was hard for her, and other residents here, to understand that it wasn’t something they did, it was for their safety.”

Over the last two-plus months, Alameda Oaks has allowed in-person visits, requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 14 days of the visit. Selman said he visits his mother face-to-face every three weeks. He is retired, so he relies on free COVID-19 testing sites, and receiving results takes a few days. However, the in-person visits are important to both of them.

“I’ll talk to her about her needs, and of course the human touch. I hug her and I try to touch her hand, and make her feel like she’s still alive,” Selman said. “As your parents get older, time is very limited and time is very precious. When you get to visit with them, it’s everything, because it’s everything to them, and it’s everything to you too.”

Selman said he is excited about the shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine that his mother could receive in the coming weeks, and that it could give the two more opportunities to spend time together.

“It would make my mom feel like she’s living again. She could go outside, she could breathe the fresh air, she could take the B bus to my house, and feel like she has a little bit of independence.”