NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Frank Rummo, married to his bride Elaine for nearly 56 years, a proud father of 3, and a Navy veteran was visiting his son Paul, and his family in Franklin, from Florida when the unimaginable happened.
“I came down with some symptoms and tested positive,” said Paul, “The next day my mom developed some symptoms and tested positive.”
It was March and COVID-19 had just started to spread through Middle Tennessee.
“In the beginning of April, my dad started having some symptoms,” Paul explained.
On his 81st birthday, Frank was admitted to Vanderbilt’s ICU while his wife and son recovered.
“He deteriorated some more,” said Paul, “he had to be intubated.”
Due to the highly infectious nature of the virus, Paul and his mother made the difficult decision not to go into the room.
“The one thing about my dad, he never met a stranger,” Paul recalled.
This comforted them as they watched from behind glass as these seemingly strangers lovingly cared for Frank. After battling for two weeks, Paul a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Vanderbilt could sense his father may not recover.
They arranged for the family, spread across the county, to join a conference call with a nurse who would hold an iPad.
“The nurse went in. It was Maddie,” Paul remembered.
For nearly 3 hours, Maddie Hayes, dressed head-to-toe in her personal protective equipment, stood alone by Frank’s side stroking his head and hand as the family said goodbye.
“It was emotional for everyone,” said Maddie.
“He would kind of respond to us talking to him,” said Paul, “He’d move his right arm a little bit at times.”
Which brought tremendous solace to the Rummo’s.
“As my mom put it, she was my dad’s angel in the room.”
A beautiful comment, Maddie said, that validates the spiritual presence she felt in the room.
“I feel like God is using me in those moments. Sorry to get emotional here,” she said while wiping tears, “I feel like I was Mr. Rummo’s way to move on to the next point of his journey.”
And, Frank’s family agrees.