I'm digging back into our submissions and found one we missed. Honestly, this one was tough to write and it's a sad tale.
John and his wife Paula owned the Quincy Diner in Michigan. On Facebook it was described as, "A set down restaurant with all the goodness of home cooking." You could also get breakfast all day, as you SHOULD in any good diner. Now all I can think about is waffles. Moving along...
Sadly, John's wife, Paula, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. John worked hard to take care of her while she was receiving chemotherapy. It sounds like she was going through hell and fighting hard to beat cancer.
Both Paula and John were hard workers. Paula worked full time in the Reading Community Schools and helped run the restaurant. John worked full time at a casino and did a full shift each day at their diner. In the middle of Paula's fight with cancer, there was another battle happening: Covid-19.
Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, issued a series of mandatory shutdowns, including indoor dining, due to surging Covid cases. Paula was unable to continue working because of her cancer and with the pandemic forcing the temporary closure of the diner, most of John and Paula's income disappeared. John decided the best way to provide for his family was to continue the operation of his business, despite the indoor dining ban. It's reported that they followed protocols for mask-wearing, separated tables for social distancing, kept doors open, and did extra thorough cleaning.
It seems risky, especially back in mid-2021, to work in a small diner and a casino while taking care of a highly-vulnerable cancer patient. However, I can appreciate how desperate and scared they must have been. Medical bills and other expenses were probably piling up. Paula was receiving treatment in Ann Arbor. That's a three hour round trip. Add the time John had to take off work, gas, food, parking, etc. I'm sure they were suffering hardships. Cancer doesn't care about your financial obligations.
Eventually, Covid-19 caught up with John. It's not really a surprise. He was working two jobs and constantly around the public, he was probably exhausted from taking care of his wife, he was 62 and not exactly a picture of health, AND...he was not vaccinated.
This is from their GoFundMe, confirming that John was not vaccinated.
It seems so foolishly reckless to be unvaccinated and working TWO jobs that could constantly expose you to Covid especially while your vulnerable spouse is battling cancer. While I can understand the need to work and maintain an income, I can't understand the denial of the free protection of the vaccine.
John spent his last birthday in the hospital.
There weren't many more posts from John but his family told his story in their GoFundMe.
After three days in the hospital with Covid, John was well enough to return home. However, things quickly turned. After two days home he was found "incoherent and confused in his bed." He was rushed to the hospital where he would remain for 43 days before finally succumbing to his illness on December 14, 2021. Their GoFundMe raised over $25,000. I'm sure that was a tiny drop in a very large bucket of medical debt considering his lengthy hospital stay and her cancer treatments.
After he passed, his story went international:
John wasn't a prolific anti-vaxxer. However, he did share a few posts that gave us a good idea on how he felt towards Covid and masks.
There is this post which says that masks are a form of psychological manipulation.
He also shared this misleading post about tuberculosis deaths and masks. I've posted about this elsewhere in SAV. There is some truth in this but in the US, Covid-19 is much more prevalent than tuberculosis. Most of the tuberculosis deaths have been in overpopulated and impoverished areas around the world where citizens lack basic medical care. (Reuters fact check here)
An odd post considering his wife was actually receiving chemotherapy...
Then he shared this video from ICU Nurse Nicole Whitley. It's full of vaccine misinformation and scare tactics. It has been removed from Youtube but is still widely available on many other sites, including the ever-reliable Bitchute.com. Watch at your own risk (click John's post below or the Bitchute link).
It's frustrating that he would trust the hospitals and doctors to try and save his terminally-ill wife but didn't trust their advice to get vaccinated. The former Marine said Covid was "worse than any training he endured in the military." He eventually decided to get vaccinated. However, he was already too sick and it was too late.
There is no happy ending for anyone in this story.
Paula lost her battle with cancer and passed away on May 8, 2022.
There was a fire at the diner in April and it has remained closed.
I find this story so sad. Paula spent the end of her life fighting cancer and lost her husband to a preventable illness. I can't imagine the pain she must have suffered, emotionally and physically.
I don't know if John would have willingly closed his business during the shutdowns if it weren't for his financial concerns and the hardships created by his wife's cancer. Obviously it's not her fault. Maybe he kept it open, like so many other business who defied lock down orders, because he thought it was an invasion of his rights and liberties. I can't say either way, only John could and he can't tell us now. Regardless, I think it demonstrates how messed up the US healthcare system is. Nobody should be put in dire, financial straights because of health problems, especially the ones we have no control over like cancer and other diseases. That's something I am not going to get into in this article. It's just something to think about.
Please get vaccinated for Covid-19 and don't forget your flu shot, too!
If you are unsure of when you should get your booster, here is a good resource from the CDC. It was updated just a few days ago.
If you need help finding a booster near you, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.
On a personal note, I received my Moderna bivalent booster almost 24 hours ago. Besides a bit of tenderness at the injection site, I'm feeling good! It certainly beats getting long Covid or dying of Covid.