Front line family: Huntsville mom, kids work health care front lines every day

Updated: May. 25, 2020 at 10:52 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - What if front-liners made up almost all of your immediate family?

Health care has become the Gaines family business, so to speak.

They have two graduates of Huntsville High School now working in hospitals.

Blair is an emergency room resident in Miami, and Alexis is in Birmingham in the transplant intensive care unit.

Mom, Tonya, is a nurse and associate director of quality and compliance at Crestwood Hospital.

And Dad, Chris, is the odd man out, a graphic designer.

“I knew when they were going into medicine, I knew they would have to deal with life or death situations. I just didn’t know it could mean their life and death,” said Chris.

Their career path has new significance and concern.

“A pandemic was never really something I really considered and here it is. It’s just not something you think about beforehand,” explained Alexis. “We’re finding out patients who weren’t even showing symptoms are positive, and patients who we think are for sure positive turn out to be negative. You never know until the tests come back,” said Blair.

Blair has dealt with COVID patients every day for nearly two months. His initial fear has given way to sureness.

“We don’t really know how long this has truly been present in America. It’s very possible I could have been exposed way earlier on and maybe had some minor symptoms and not even thought about it.”

A tough statement for their parents in Huntsville to hear.

“You forget about the nursing and you turn into just a parent who is just concerned about the children,” said Tonya.

However, this family focuses on faith and checks in regularly to decompress.

They try to put the fear of a second spike of COVID cases in the back of their minds while the country reopens.

“What I think about this, health care workers in general and people who have to be out there, I’m a mom and think about my children and I get kind of upset because they are having to be exposed too because you choose not to continue using safety measures,” added Tonya.

“It’s not gone yet. I think that’s what people need to know. It’s not gone and they need to stay safe,” said Blair.

The Gaines family hasn’t been together since January out of fear of potentially exposing each other. A reunion is still up in the air.

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