After dad died of COVID-19, Regina man channelling grief into good

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Paul Gullacher was so sick he could barely get out of bed the last time he talked to his dad.

Noble (Butch) Gullacher was on his third day as a COVID-19 patient at the Regina General Hospital when he phoned his eldest son on March 21.

“He could hardly talk; he would take 10, 20 seconds between phrases, just to kind of get all his words out,” Paul recalled last week, from his home in south Regina.

“And he was saying, ‘This is probably it; I don’t think I’m getting out of this.’ He apologized for having the explain to the kids what was happening … how much he loves them, how amazing they were, how great they were.”

Butch was induced into a coma the next day, and died on April 10.

The almost three months since have been “surreal” for the Gullacher family.

For Paul, that time has included suffering his own symptoms of COVID-19 — the entire family contracted the virus.

Paul had dizziness, extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing, vertigo. At times his vision seemed on a dimmer switch, fading into darkness.