AVOCA - Saturday morning, at the Avoca South 5th Street home of Terry and Debra Yanske, Deb thought it was a bit strange when her husband and daughter Sherry thought the trio should go outside into the front yard, especially since it would be easier to get her and her wheel chair onto the back yard deck if they wanted fresh air.
And then, when she spotted the Avoca police car and heard the siren start to whine, followed by an ambulance, she thought, “I hope this isn’t something about me!”
She was completely surprised when she realized that it was indeed all about her as a 38-vehicle “Welcome Home” parade, carrying relatives and community friends, were honoring her after her 138-day absence because of a long bout with Coronavirus-19.
Deb’s journey started back on October 12 when she felt as though she was experiencing a “bad cold.” But with all the publicity about the Virus -19 Pandemic, the pair decided perhaps they should get tested. Deb’s test came back “positive.” By October 18 she was having trouble breathing and the Avoca ambulance was called to take her back to the clinic in Richland Center. She then was soon on her way to a Madison Hospital.
It was four and a half months later before she would be back home again, on Friday, March 5.
During that time there were many tubes, etc., and she experienced 26 days on a ventilator. During hospitalization she had no contact with her family.
On January 6 she was moved to Pine Valley Health Care, Richland Center, to continue her recovery in isolation. It was not until those recent intensely cold days of late February when “through the window” family contacts became possible, but not comfortable for the folks on the outside.
Perhaps it’s appropriate that Deb’s long medical journey included a ride in the Avoca ambulance. It, and a fire truck, was among the leading vehicles in the Saturday morning “Welcome Home” parade. She and Terry have both been long-time members of the squad and Terry is also a fireman.
The parade included many cars of support and shouted “Welcome Home Deb” greetings, plus flowers and about 30 balloons that were dropped off.Sunday afternoon, Deb was still talking about the surprise parade. Promoters of the parade related how sneaky they were as they spread the word and contacted folks about the coming event, relying mostly on telephone calls and personal contacts, avoiding the Internet to maintain the surprise.