AUSTIN, Texas — Alli Gluecklich and Adrian McNair barely go a day without sending each other some kind of message, but when McNair tested positive for the coronavirus, their jokes and laughs were put on hold in mid-March.
Gluecklich lives in Austin and McNair lives in New York, but Gluecklich said it was different than the normal long-distance friendship.
"He helped me so much just as a person. He just helped guide me. He's a good dad," said Gluecklich. "Number one word anyone uses to describe Adrian is sassy and he is very dependable and he's just fun-loving."
"We just have grown so close over the years. Even though I move around all the time and Alli moved to Austin, which I try to get out there at least once a year. She tries to get out to me when she can," said McNair. "Even when we're apart, we FaceTime and send memes to each other and just text each other fun things."
McNair's condition got severe and doctors put him on a ventilator for 34 days in Plainview, New York.
"I was out the entire time I was on the ventilator. It's wrecked my body. I'm currently, like I said, in occupational and physical therapy. I can't walk. I have to regain the use of my right hand," said McNair.
For 35 days, Gluecklich made sure to keep McNair updated in life, even though he was unconscious. She would send him messages letting him know she was worried about him and missing him.
"Those first couple of weeks, I had a lot of trouble just coping and him not being there. Not knowing he was going to wake up because every single day was different," said Gluecklich.
After a month of silence, Gluecklich got an unexpected FaceTime from McNair.
"I knew he got off the ventilator the day prior and I knew he wasn't in the best shape so I wasn't expecting that call," said Gluecklich. "I think we both cried, we just looked at each other and cried for a solid five minutes because it's second nature for us to be FaceTiming multiple times a day, and so to not talk to someone for over a month and then see their face again, it was just so surreal."
Now after seeing how fast COVID-19 can make someone seriously sick, they have mixed feelings about Texas reopening businesses. Both Gluecklich and McNair are urging everyone to be cautious.
"We still need to live our lives, but we need to do it as safely as possible," said Gluecklich.
"You need to social distance. It doesn't matter who you are. You don't know if it's going to knock you down, like it did me," said McNair. "I think that people just associate COVID-19 with our elderly and immunocompromised people. I'm only 30 years old."
Adrian is now out of the intensive care unit and recovering. He said if there's one thing he's learned, best friends, like Gluecklich, don't come around often.
McNair said he now tests negative for the coronavirus, but has to go through extensive therapy to gain back his strength.
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