SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — Respiratory therapist Frank Mooney knows all too well what it’s like to battle COVID-19.
The Scituate resident decided to come out of retirement to fight on the front lines of the pandemic.
“If a fire breaks out on a boat, you run to the fire,” Mooney said. “If something is going on – a pandemic – the best place to fight is in the hospital.”
It was a decision his wife wasn’t fond of.
“My wife was very against me going back,” Mooney said. “You’re only per diem, so you don’t have to go back.”
“If you don’t fight it in the hospital, it will catch up to you,” he continued. “You can’t run away from it.”
Mooney bravely ran straight into the fire, ultimately contracting the virus himself.
“I was extremely tired,” he recalled. “I couldn’t eat. I was coughing a little bit, a little fever.”
He said he had trouble taking deep breaths, and the symptoms became so severe that he was admitted to Kent Hospital.
Mooney spent 10 days in the hospital, isolated from his family.
Despite battling a deadly disease, his thoughts were more focused on his loved ones back home.
“I was concerned about how they were doing,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to be OK.'”
When asked whether Mooney ever thought he was going to die throughout his hospital stay, he said no, adding that he wasn’t put on a ventilator.
“I’m thinking if that got to the point of intubating, I probably would have been more afraid,” he added.
His daughter Justine, however, was terrified by the thought of losing her father.
“My dad is my hero, he’s my best friend,” she said. “Ever since I was a little girl, if I thought something happened to him, I could easily start tearing up.”
“If my dad had died, it would have been devastating, but he would have died trying to help people,” Justine continued. “It would fit his legacy. But I can’t tell you how grateful we all are that he’s better.”
Frank said he received a convalescent plasma treatment and took a couple of months off while he recovered. He said the entire ordeal taught him one valuable lesson: don’t live your life in fear.
“Don’t give up your humor,” he said. “Don’t give up your joy, because if you give up … all you’re going to do is hide in the bunker and then it’s just going to steal your life anyway.”
After fearing for her father’s life, Justine said laughter was part of her healing process.
It’s also part of the reason why she and her boyfriend, Mark Clancy, created what they’re calling a “break-from-reality card game.”
The game, called “Year at Play,” is based on current events, but with satirical spins.
“The first edition, ‘Goodbye 2020,’ specifically focuses on our COVID year of hell,” the game’s website states. “Trump vs. Biden, sports without fans, the great toilet paper rush, Karens, Pizza Gate and more. It’s all there, only this time it’s fun.”
Justine said players “attack” and “defend” using the cards in their hand, and the first person to receive 21 “shame points” loses.
The goal, Justine said, isn’t to win, but to get people to laugh during one of the darkest times in modern history.
It’s a game that has also brought her own family together to enjoy one another’s company.
Justine said the first printing of the card game has already sold out, and they’re in the process of making more. Anyone interested in purchasing the game is encouraged to sign up for their waitlist.