Over the Christmas holidays, two women in hospital with serious cases of COVID-19 struck up an unlikely friendship.
Colin Kelly, 38, and Dorothy Huckle, 87, share the same room in Windsor, Ontario, as they recover from the virus.
“Colin and I — she told me she was only 38, but we really did,” Huckle said.
“We laughed a lot in the hospital with this, I mean, even though we didn’t feel well, we really talked to each other.”
Huckle began feeling unwell in mid-December of 2020, and eventually called an ambulance after her condition worsened. She was admitted to Windsor Regional Hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.
Kelly, who was already accepted and connected to an oxygen machine, said she was on the verge of needing a ventilator.
But late one night, she rolls in her new roommate.
It was so nice to see her healthy and happy, and she’s so gorgeous – her nails bared, her hair polished and her jewelry.Colin Kelly, 38, on her friend Dorothy Hawkell
“It was late, late at night, so I didn’t speak to her in the morning,” said Kelly, co-owner of Average Joe’s Sports Bar in Windsor.
“In the morning I peeked through the curtain to see who was there and said, ‘Hey,’ and that was it. We just talked all day.”
Different stories, same heart
Huckle said she was in excruciating pain after contracting shingles, a condition complicated by COVID-19, and Kelly kept her busy and laughing. While sharing the room, visitors were not allowed due to safety protocols.
“My kids couldn’t come over, you know, they couldn’t come to see me,” Hackl said.
But Kelly knew what to do.
“Her daughter’s name and contact were on the whiteboard in the hospital,” she said. “I texted her daughter and sent her a picture of us for Christmas to let her know that her mother is fine.”
Despite their mutual fears, the two helped take care of each other and keep each other’s spirits up.
“I was saying funny things that I laughed at…she was helping me go to the bathroom because, you know, we have good care, but they couldn’t take care of everyone at once and I couldn’t get her out of bed on my own.”
Kelly left the hospital just after Christmas, and Huckle was released two days later.
Kelly Huckle promised the two would meet when it was safe to do so, and it happened this week. Both are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kelly and Huckle’s three daughters met for a meal in Sandwich Town on Wednesday.
“She bought me pretty flowers,” Huckle said. “You should see them. They’re just pretty.” “She kept hugging me and she’s a really, really nice person.”
Her old roommate was happy to finally meet the Huckle Girls and see her friend in better shape.
“It was great to see her healthy and happy, and she’s absolutely gorgeous – her nails trimmed, her hair polished and her jewelry,” Kelly said.
“For me, it was quiet because again, having never been to a hospital before, I didn’t really know what to expect. The staff were great, but they were just really good company. It was funny.”
Huckle and Kelly are planning another reunion in December, when Huckle will turn 88.
Until then, Kelly plans to keep calling her every Saturday afternoon to keep in touch.