By Suzanne Le Mignot

CHICAGO (CBS) — Imagine your loved one is in the hospital recovering from a broken hip, but because of COVID-19 you cannot see them. That’s what a Romeoville woman is dealing with during the pandemic.

Bea Castillo says her mother not only has a broken hip but also Alzheimers, and being in an unfamiliar setting, like a hospital, and not seeing familiar faces is making things difficult.

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Elba Larrea, 95, tells her grandson and caretaker David, she loves him.

Larrea has severe Alzheimer’s.  Last Friday she fell and broke her hip. When paramedics arrived at the family home to bring Larrea to the hospital they told her daughter Bea Castillo not to even think about going to the hospital because of COVID-19.

“We tried anyway and of course that’s exactly what happened,” Castillo says. “They said no. No visitors allowed.”

Castillo says her mother is being cared for at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook.

“The last time I spoke to one of the nurses she said she was going to try and ask the doctor for a one time permission and that’s what we’re waiting on,” she says.

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Following hip surgery, Larrea is refusing to eat or drink. Castillo says at a time like this, she needs to be with her mother. She says she is the only one Larrea really recognizes, and a sense of consistency isn’t there when she can’t see her.

“She’ll think she just needs to know, it’s OK. It’s me telling her, ‘It’s OK, Mom, go ahead and eat something.”

Castillo says she will do whatever the hospital says to see her mother.

“Take a covid test, wear hazmat suits, you know, full gear, whatever I need to do just to be able to see her, just so she feels some sort of comfort,” she said. “It’s really heartbreaking and just hard to know that she’s there, but we’re close but we can’t get in.”


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Late Wednesday afternoon CBS 2 learned Castillo has been allowed to visit her mother. A hospital spokesperson said, in part, “This was simply a misunderstanding” and “every precaution necessary is being  taken to make sure everyone is safe during this visit.”

Suzanne Le Mignot