By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A brief visit recently boosted spirits at a southwest Minnesota hospital.

When Linda Kline’s husband went to the emergency room for his COVID-19 symptoms, she wasn’t sure when she’d be able to see him again.

Bob Kline, 72, was diagnosed with COVID days after he got home from a successful surgery.

“That Wednesday before Thanksgiving was the last day he walked out to the garage. After that, he just went downhill,” Linda said.

She took him to the emergency room in St. James on Nov. 29. Bob was transferred by ambulance to the Mayo Clinic’s hospital in Mankato, put on a ventilator and then placed in the ICU. Next, Linda received her own positive results.

“No fever, no chills, no body aches, probably just a little bit of nose congestion,” Linda said.

She became one of 700 people in the Mayo Midwest system to receive monoclonal antibodies to keep things from getting worse, according to Tracy Culbertson, Southwest Minnesota Regional Nurse Manager for Oncology and Infusion.

“Those medications help keep patients out of the hospitals by boosting their immune system,” Culbertson said.

It just so happened her infusion took place at the same Mankato hospital where Bob had now been doing better. But, with a strict no-visitor policy, she knew she couldn’t see him. Behind the scenes, the nursing staff hatched a plan.

“Next thing you know, one of them came and said, ‘Your man of the hour is on his way down,’” Linda said.

(credit: CBS)

Fifty-two years of marriage, it had been the longest stretch Linda and Bob had been apart.

“We were all immediately on board,” Culbertson said. “I’ve been a nurse for 16 years. It’s one of those moments I will never, ever forget.”

Culbertson calls it a reminder of what’s been at stake for months.

“Everything we do is because we want these people to be together,” she said.

Although the visit was brief, it became a healing moment — perhaps even more so for Bob’s caregivers.

“They don’t get enough credit,” Linda said.

Bob was taken off oxygen on Monday, and hopes to be home again soon. The Klines will celebrate 53 years of marriage in February.

Liz Collin