"I'm not doing it daily for show. That's the woman that I've been with for 20 years," Kay Pelican says of his wife Chenella

By Joelle Goldstein
August 19, 2020 01:41 PM
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Staff at Lafayette General Health with the flower deliveries
| Credit: Lafayette General Health

A Louisiana man who has been unable to be by his wife's side as she battles COVID-19 in the hospital is showing his love and support by having flower bouquets delivered to her daily.

Kay Pelican tells PEOPLE it's been "rough" being away from his wife Chenella ever since she was admitted to Lafayette General Medical Center in early August after contracting the coronavirus.

In order to cope with the distance and the hospital's visitor restrictions, Kay, 43, sent a bouquet of roses to Chenella, 44, on Aug. 5, in hopes that the gesture would demonstrate his love from afar — and the Lousiana resident hasn't stopped since then.

To date, Kay has sent more than 12 bouquets of flowers to his wife, leaving her hospital room decorated with an extravagant display of different colored roses and various sized bouquets.

"I can't be by her bedside but I gotta let her know in some kind of way that I'm there," Kay says. "Usually when one of us is in the hospital, we sit with each other, so this was the only way I could be there."

Kay and Chenella Pelican
| Credit: Courtesy Kay Pelican

While Chenella has been battling the virus, Kay says Lafayette's nurses have facilitated FaceTimes so he can see his wife, who is unable to talk at the moment. Still, he notes, Chenella seems to be aware of her deliveries.

"It's the nurses that do most of it. They let her know that I've sent flowers," he explains. "She nods her head when they tell her."

After 12 consecutive days of deliveries, Lafayette General Health posted about the roses on their Facebook page, writing, "Romance can get a little complicated when a spouse is hospitalized for #COVID19. But that hasn’t stopped one man who’s been sending flowers daily since his wife has been in our facility —  12 days and counting!"

"His positive perspective makes our nurses’ day as much as his wife’s," the hospital added. "Here’s to love in the time of COVID. #imnotcryingyourecrying #cryinginamaskismultitasking"

Kay and Chenella Pelican
| Credit: Courtesy Kay Pelican

Though the post has garnered hundreds of shares and comments, Kay insists that the deliveries are not for recognition.

"I'm not doing it daily for show," he says. "That's the woman that I've been with for 20 years and been married to for 19. I do things like that because we've been together so long and it means so much to her and means so much to me."

The sweet gesture also means a lot to the Lafayette staff, according to ICU manager Michelle Broussard, who tells PEOPLE the roses have "boosted their morale."

"The nursing staff at Lafayette General Medical Center has loved benefitting from this husband’s sweet gesture," she says. "While it always brings a smile to one’s face to see that a patient received flowers from a loved one, it is overwhelming to walk into a room and see this enormous amount of love — in the form of roses."

"Although the pandemic is scary and we are all adjusting to this new normal, there is still plenty of good happening all around us," Broussard adds. "In the midst of uncertainty, love really does prevail. This man’s love for his wife has been so healing to our weary nurses."

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As Kay looks ahead, including to his and Chenella's 19th wedding anniversary on Sept. 8, the Louisiana resident says he hopes that his wife will make a speedy recovery so that their lives can return to normal.

"She's doing a whole lot better and progressing really good," he shares. "I'm just ready to take it easy and kick it with my family and wife."

As for Broussard and the rest of the staff at Lafayette, they have one message for couples around the nation.

"Step it up with your spouse!" Broussard jokes. "I mean, what’s your excuse now?"

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