ENID, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma couple is now forced to be apart after what was supposed to be a quick trip home turned into a one-way ticket to Enid.
Katie Duell is now at her parents’ house raising their two-year-old daughter alone while her husband, Bryan, is on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 at a hospital in New York
“She’s like, ‘Let’s go find daddy!'” Katie Duell said. “I am like, ‘Daddy is in New York and we will stay here.’ She’s like, ‘No, let’s go see daddy!’”
Two-year-old Thea is only able to see her hero through a screen.
Her dad, Bryan Duell, is in New York watching his little girl grow up through FaceTime.
“She doesn’t know exactly what’s happening, but she knows it’s not quite right,” Duell said.
Bryan recently missed Thea’s second birthday because he’s more than 1,400 miles away.
The 29 year old is on doctor duty in Long Island and hasn’t seen his family face-to-face in 32 days.
“There are no words or emotions that can express how proud of him I am,” Duell said.
The couple met at Oklahoma State University and have spent the last three years living in the Big Apple while Bryan finishes his residency as an orthopedic surgeon.
Katie and Thea traveled home a week before Bryan to celebrate the toddler’s big birthday.
Their flight landed just hours after the infamous Thunder home game that put the country in a tail spin.
Bryan was never able to make his flight, as the virus soon began to spread out of control.
New York banned all nonessential travel, leaving Katie and Thea in Enid.
Meanwhile, Bryan was put directly on the COVID-19 floor.
Wednesday, New York’s death toll soared past 10,000.
“Anybody who can just loads bodies into ice trucks he says,” Duell said. “I always ask him, ‘Are you scared?’ He says, ‘Yeah, but these people need me.’”
While Bryan is witnessing the unimaginable, his family says they are sending him care packages and virtual hugs.
Both parents say they are unsure when they will all be reunited.
“He goes in there everyday and doesn’t worry about himself and only worries about others,” Duell said.
Katie and her mom wanted to help, so they sewed face masks and shipped them to Bryan and his team in New York.