Valdie improving slowly, Rockey still serious but still teasing nurses

Valdie Burkholder, 95, is improving slowly, and was strong enough to go out for the first time in weeks Saturday, enjoying a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder as her appetite improves.

Marty Becker offers some answers, but says there are many questions on this blessed Sunday as to the conditions of the two most beloved of Bonners Ferry icons.

“First Valdie. She continues to improve, albeit, VERY slowly,” Marty posted to Facebook today. “She is finally wanting to eat again, after five days. We went to McDonalds last night as she craved a Quarter Pounder and fries. If her stomach could take that junk, I knew her stomach was being relined with cast iron. This morning at her home, I cooked her fried bologna (Southern favorite), a fried egg, and nine-grain toast with butter and honey.”

Her sense of taste is coming back but she’s still congested, very weak and forgetful, he said.

“The renters in Rockey’s old trailer behind the Old North Side School B&B and neighbors, Ray & Karen, came over and picked up the leaves I’d raked. They are so loving, and serving, with Valdie and Rockey,” He wrote. “Another neighbor, Jack Douglas, yelled hello and has offered to help with anything, anytime. Same with Kenny and Shelly Tanner who live across the street, behind the big red barn, the Brother and Sister who take care of Valdie’s yard and always want to help.

“For over 40 years, Valdie has told me that she never fears death, as she knows she’ll be with her Lord in heaven. And back with her family and friends. She has also fretted about becoming incapacitated, physically and/or mentally, and stuck in a nursing home with no teeth, no makeup, no jewelry, no family or friends and no memories of her life. She has told Teresa and I dozens of times, ‘I hope I die before I end up in the Restorium, with people walking by, seeing me incoherent with my mouth hanging open, drooling.'”

Marty and Valdie were able to talk to Rockey and his nurses Saturday from the hospital parking lot. They wanted Rockey to know we were close to him, even if we couldn’t visit his room because of isolation.

Rockey is very short of breath and struggling with the least exertion, but his spirit remains indomitable.

He’s not on a ventilator yet. He is on remdesivir and dexamethasone. His nurse said Rockey would most likely be in intensive care for a week.

“She talked to Valdie and I about Rockey’s kind spirit, will to live and desire to be home to take care of of his mother,” Marty wrote. “When Valdie heard the nurse say she thought Rockey would survive COVID, she cried softly. When told how Rockey kept saying he needed to go home to take care of his 95-year-old Mother, she sobbed.

“In 42-years of marriage to Teresa and being part of the Burkholder family, I’ve never seen her cry so hard for so long. Her shoulders were heaving and she struggled to catch her COVID compromised breath.”

His nurse also remarked about what nearly all in Bonners Ferry already know; how complimentary Rockey was, to the nurses in general and herself specifically.

“Said he’d given her more compliments in two days than she’d received from all three husbands put together! ,” Marty wrote.

He spoke with Rockey and his nurses in intensive care at Bonner General Hospital again today.

“He’s about the same medically, still in serious condition,” Marty wrote. “Rockey tries to be upbeat, says he misses his mom, misses home, misses Bonners Ferry. The second time I called, a new nurse was laughing. She said Rockey told one nurse she was busty, like Anna Nicole.”

“I feel confident Valdie had beaten COVID and there are more chapters in her beautiful life story. Our precious Rockey, with his age, severe asthma and diabetes and his current condition is still in real danger. Too soon to tell how many pages he has left to write his life’s story. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

“I read all of your messages to Valdie and Rockey.  You should see them smile. If you want me to let them know you’re thinking of them, and want to give them a specific message, I will. They also appreciate the cards and flowers that have been sent. Rockey is in #207 at Bonner General.

“Most of all, we deeply appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts. You’ve blessed our family.”