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He Left Big Shoes to Fill

Ron Johns

Lisa Hodgson. And I was born here in LeMar's, Iowa, in 1961. And I am the HR specialist at Floyd Valley Healthcare here in LeMars.

Life was pretty free and easy. We we ride motorcycles. We like to go do that. Yeah. Matter of fact, was it 2019 that we went to Madison, Wisconsin? We don't sit around much.

Our community health nurse is also a friend of mine, and she was talking about all the things that were coming, and I was like, "Yeah, this isn't going to be good."

Even running errands was very deliberate. I even did my list according to the layout of the store.

For me, I'm working in healthcare, I chose to be vaccinated. I have grandbabies. I wanted to be able to protect them as much as I can protect myself. However, my oldest son, Ryan, Ryan chose not to be vaccinated.

I remember even saying to him, "Ryan, you really need to go get this vaccine."

And then he'd come home and he's like, "Mom, you got to watch this video." And it's like almost like straight up. And he's like, "They call this one The Widowmaker."

And he's like, "No, not going to do it. I don't want to talk about it, Mom." And he said, "Not going to get COVID."

And I said, "You don't know that. You don't know that. It's pretty contagious." And I said, "You don't know that. People are dying from this."

And he said to me, "Not going to die."

Finally, he did go to the hospital because he was feeling where things were getting worse all along. And they tested him.

"Yeah. You have COVID."

But it was too late for him to have any prescription medication. And as time went on, he just kept getting sicker. And he had gone to the ER because he couldn't, was having problems breathing. A few days later, he went to Unity Point, and they were so busy there wasn't even a place to sit. And he was so weak that he couldn't stand. So he laid down on the floor in the waiting room at Unity Point, and they were like, "You can't lay here."

And he's like, "I can't stand."

He couldn't sleep, he's working so hard to breathe all the time. And there were times where, you know, one time I was sitting there and I just had my eyes closed. And he's like, "Mom, are you tired?"

"Yep, Ryan, I am."

And he says, "Well, aren't you sleeping well at night?"

So he's so worried about me. And I said, "No, I sleep fine, Ryan. It's the end of the week and I'm tired. And it's been a busy week, and it's hard sitting in a hospital all day."

He was worried about me. Yeah, that I wasn't getting enough sleep.

So then one night, about two in the morning, we got a call from the hospital, and we got to talk to him very briefly. They were going to put him on a vent. And then as days went on, a couple of days went on, his organs shut down. And then we had to make the decision to take him off the vent, but before we did that we had a couple of his really good friends came up to the hospital so they could say they're goodbyes.

They were able to go?

Yeah, they let them in to the ICU. Yeah, it was pretty hard. Pretty hard to watch grown men cry.

He left a big hole, you know, he, he, he just was that guy that, he was a big guy. He was six-seven, and he worked hard and played hard and loved hard and, yeah.

So now, now we ride his Harley. And our motorcycle sits in the shed.

He was outdoorsy. Avid snowmobiler. Oh, yeah, and then he had a helmet cam and so he'd make videos. And then he'd come home and he's like, "Mom, you got to watch this video." And it's like almost like straight up. And he's like, "They call this one The Widowmaker."

And I'm like, "Ryan!"

But yeah, so life is different for us. No, Ryan and I had a Tuesday night date thing, so we would go to dinner on Tuesday nights. We did that for several years, and that was just our time to connect. And so, yeah, no Tuesday night dates. And I'm glad we did it, though.

And then there was a lot of times where it was like Christmas, and it would be like, "Okay, we're going to go out to eat." And then, "Mom, you gotta help me Christmas shop." So we would go Christmas shopping, Christmas gift shopping with him.

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