WATE 6 On Your Side Heroes

East Tennessee man makes hero travel nurse a special gift after battling COVID-19

WATE 6 On Your Side Heroes

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — A 92-year-old East Tennessee man recently passed out at home and woke up at Fort Loudoun Medical Center battling COVID-19. He credits his survival to God and a healthcare hero he only knew as “Nurse Smiley.” He wanted to thank her but couldn’t find her because he didn’t know her name.

Maynard Fleeman’s doctor’s office at Fort Loudoun Family Medical Center found out “Nurse Smiley” is a travel nurse already on her next assignment in Maryland and helped us set up a virtual reunion via Zoom.

“Hi sweetie how are you doing?” asked an overjoyed Maynard as he saw nurse Jody Reynolds for this first time since his recovery from COVID. “Oh my gosh!” beamed Jody. “It’s so good to see your smiling face!”

“I tell you what,” Maynard said, “it’s been a hard struggle, but I remember what you’d done for me. I was laying there and you kept putting that cold towel on my forehead and said, ‘you’re going to make it, you’re going to make it.'”

Like other COVID-19 patients, Maynard couldn’t have visitors. Jody did her best to represent his family as she cared for him.

“I think it’s extra important to make sure they have that contact; you know, somebody treating them like their family would,” Jody said. “That’s what I basically do, treat all my patients like they’re my family because I would want that for my family.”

Maynard told Jody, “there for a while, I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Jody replied, “I know.”

Maynard said, “You talked me right out of it.”

Jody said, “Oh , I’m so glad. I knew. I saw that spunk. You still have a lot of spunk in you.”

Maynard remembers making a promise to Jody that he would make her a quilt to say thank you. He has kept that promise, presenting her virtually with a beautiful handmade quilt.

“We’ll have to ship it to you, though,” Maynard said, holding the quilt up to the web camera.

“Oh! I love that!” Jody said. “That’s so beautiful from a beautiful soul. Thank you so much. I’ll cherish that forever.”

“It’ll last you a few days, ” Maynard chuckled, “that’s for sure.”

Tisa Mees, the site manager at Fort Loudoun Family Medical Center, was instrumental in finding out Jody’s name , tracking her down, then letting us help set up the special reunion. It almost didn’t happen. Jody recently had her own battle with COVID-19. We are thankful that both are doing better.

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