DEARBORN – Hamid Alkhalili is a nurse at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and has seen the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic up close -- but it did little to prepare him for when his father tested positive for the virus and became a patient.
Alkhalili’s father’s health deteriorated more and more until he ultimately died a month after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Our family as a whole, we feel broken about it,” Alkhalili said. “But this has brought us together.”
Alkhalili and his brother, Abdallah, had been pulling for their father, Issa, every step of the way as he fought against COVID-19.
“This sounds weird, but I feel relieved knowing that he’s not in pain anymore,” Alkhalili said.
Issa’s death came as a shock, as Alkhalili and countless others were hoping he would eventually recover.
“He was 63,” he said. “All the doctors said, ‘He has age on his side and he’s going to pull through his own medical history. He’s going to pull through.’”
Every step was documented with one picture taken each day so Alkhalili could show his father the progress he hoped he would one day make. Due to COVID precautions, Alkhalili had to witness his father’s illness through a small window on the hospital room door.
Through it all, the family is proud of the fight that Issa put up a fight until the end.
“That man was strong. He went through almost a month in the hospital, and he was a strong one, not us,” Alkhalili said. “He stayed a total of 17 or 18 days intubated. That was just the tip of the iceberg, (but) he fought so hard.”
They all plan to move forward with Alkhalili honoring his father’s final wish: taking care of his mother and comforting her through this rough time.
“We just sat there by my mom until 4 a.m or 5 a.m.,” Alkhalili said. “One second we’re crying, one second we’re laughing, one second we’re remembering him. It was beautiful, and we kept her busy and that’s what he would want.”
There was a burial ceremony held for Issa. The money that would have been used for a funeral will now be donated to those less fortunate in Issa’s name.
Michigan has started listing local health departments accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations.
On January 11, Michigan moved into the next phase of vaccinations, which includes teachers, first responders, childcare providers and residents 65 years of age and older.