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'He didn't deserve to suffer like he did': Family of Idaho man who died from COVID-19 remembers his painful final days

Bobby Carver grew up in Meridian and Boise and worked at the Albertsons on Cherry Lane for 26 years but in his last days, COVID-19 swiftly attacked his lungs.

WEISER, Idaho — As of Thursday, Nov. 12, 753 Idahoans have died from the coronavirus. One of those victims of the pandemic was 49-year-old Bobby Carver, a Treasure Valley native who lived in a long-term care facility in Wieser.

In September, Carver tested positive for COVID-19 and his family would see him one last time on Oct. 2 before he passed away.

Carver grew up bouncing between Meridian and Boise. He graduated from Centennial High School and was involved in the Special Olympics. Born with down syndrome, Carver was high functioning and worked for Albertsons on Cherry Lane in Meridian for 26 years. 

He turned 49 years old in August.

'My baby and I got to see my brother one more time before he got really sick'

While there was a ten-year age gap between him and his little sister, Nicole, she always looked at him as her little brother. The two went to a lot of dances and concerts together. Nicole called him "my country concert buddy."

The siblings' most memorable concert happened about four years ago when Kieth Urban was scheduled to play in Pocatello. Carver wanted to meet the country music star so he made a sign and Nicole snapped a photo of him with it and the post soon went viral, which helped make the night extra special.

"We had extreme front row tickets it was absolutely amazing and he got to meet Kieth Urban," she said.

Carver lived at home until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in March 2020 and moved into a long-term care facility in Weiser.

"I took my little guy down there at the time he was five and a half months and Bobby got to hold him and that was important," Nicole recalled. "Even though they didn't know who each other was I wanted that to happen so yeah my mom and myself and my baby and I got to see my brother one more time before he got really sick."

The coronavirus pandemic wasn't much of a concern for Nicole and their mother Patty. That was the case until mid-September when Carver tested positive for COVID-19.

'He was there. He understood. And after that, he never regained consciousness'

"I was worried to death," Patty said. "I couldn't sleep, I thought about him constantly, I called every day and at that point, we could no longer go visit him there." 

She added that it was heartbreaking not to be able to see her son while he batted the virus.

"It's so difficult. I thought that the most difficult thing that I ever had to do was to watch that van drive towards Weiser knowing bobby was not going to be coming back to our home but when I found out that he had COVID and I could no longer go and give him that hug or make him smile for the day, it was horrible it was just the worst thing I've ever been through," Patty explained.

Unfortunately, things worsened for Carver. His oxygen levels plummeted and had to be taken to Saint Alphonsus in Boise for treatment.

Patty said he remembers looking into his eyes one last time on Oct. 2.

"My sister was able to come into the hospital with me once he was to the non-contagious stage," she said, "and bobby opened his eyes and smiled at us and knew that I was there, it was one of the lord's tender mercies and I felt like I was able to tell him I loved him. He was there. He understood. And after that, he never regained consciousness." 

Nicole said despite her brother's lungs getting worse as COVID-19 attacked them, his high fevers or the sepsis setting in, she'd never thought the last time she would ever be with him would be that visit in late-August.

'The COVID was cruel. He didn't deserve to suffer like he did'

Bobby Carver passed away on Oct. 8 at the age of 49.

"I just wanted to hope that he was going to get better. I mean he had already been through a lot and had a lot of milestones his entire life and kind of beat the odds with a lot of things having a disability and," Nicole said, "and when the reality hit it broke us all." 

Patty said while she knew she would soon lose her son due to Alzheimer's was difficult but wasn't the worst aspect of her son's death.

"But the hardest part was watching him suffer and not be able to be with him as much as I wanted to during that last month, month and a half," she said. "You know, with dementia he was gradually fading away a little bit at a time but the COVID was cruel he didn't deserve to suffer like he did."

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