Corpus Christi parish buoys couple recovering from coronavirus

A stained glass window at Corpus Christi Church features the Holy Family. Knights and parishioners there came together to help a couple suffering from COVID-19.

LEXINGTON—Looking back, Mark and Dana McKenna know they are blessed, not only for their health, but also for those who offered support when they were hit by COVID-19.

Both were diagnosed and treated in early April after contracting coronavirus. Dana was hospitalized for five days. Mark self-treated at home. Now, six weeks later, both agree the experience has strengthened their faith in God, and in each other. 

Neither knows how they caught the virus; no one whom they associate with has contracted it. To them, the most important fact is “we survived,” Mark said.

Dana tested positive for the virus on March 28. Her husband said she had been feeling sick several days prior to being tested, “but we thought it was due to her allergies.” 

Meanwhile, Mark said he started feeling ill a few days before Dana entered the hospital. He took care of her at their home until her condition worsened. She was admitted to Lexington Medical Center on April 1. 

Dana and Mark McKenna

Mark’s symptoms grew worse while Dana was hospitalized.

“I think he let down his guard when I was no longer there for him to take care of me,” she said.

Several days later he went to Urgent Care at Lexington Medical Center where he was tested and diagnosed with the virus. Ironically, by the time Mark was tested, Dana had been released from the hospital. 

“Early on, they were being very stingy with the tests because they didn’t have enough for everyone,” Mark said.

As with many serious illnesses, victims lose track of time, which was true for Mark and Dana.

“We were sleeping 18 hours a day,” Mark said. “The days just disappeared.”  

Dana recalled being admitted to the hospital “in the middle of the night,” but couldn’t remember being in the hospital’s ICU until she saw it referenced in her discharge papers.

Though both were diagnosed with coronavirus, each had different symptoms.

“Mark had diarrhea, which I didn’t know was a symptom,” Dana said. In her case, she had a severe headache which appeared 10 days before she was hospitalized.

Both Mark and Dana said they are feeling better physically, six weeks after their shared ordeal.

“I think I’m back to 100 percent,” Mark said, though his wife battled a recurring cough and shortness of breath for several days after leaving the hospital. Both have been in self-quarantine while consulting virtually with their physician. 

Members of Knights of Columbus Council 11325, and other people from Corpus Christi parish, stopped by regularly during the hospitalization and in-home treatments to check on Mark and Dana, many carrying prepared meals left on the couple’s front porch.

“People would put food on a chair we have out there, ring the doorbell or knock on the door and take off,” Mark said. Parishioners also bought groceries for the couple and picked up pharmacy items as needed.

Spiritual nourishment came through prayers, recited together virtually, during the rough times.

“There were many heartwarming moments when we’re weren’t feeling well at all,” Mark said. “Now, we’re both feeling very blessed and grateful to God for being here.”