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'Protect yourself, protect your kids': Wife pleads with West Texas community as husband fights COVID

"The last few things that he said to me before he was intubated was we messed up, so don't be us, don't be me FaceTiming with your kids so they can see their daddy."

MIDLAND, Texas — It may look like a normal Sunday afternoon, but the Burk family is fighting the emotional roller-coaster that is COVID-19 right now.

Austin, their father, is sick with severe COVID pneumonia at Medical Center Hospital.

It all started August 13, 2021.

"Our little girl was supposed to go to her first slumber party and I said well I can't send her with a good heart, you have to go get tested and so he did and he was positive and I didn't believe him, we were just shocked," Amber Burk, mom said.

That next week, Austin's breathing changed.

Amber took him to Midland Memorial, but they were out of beds.

"He just got sicker and sicker. The nasal cannula didn't work, the high flow didn't work, the bipap didn't work and Monday morning they put him on a vent. And he's had really rough days and he's had really great days," Burk said.

He was admitted to Medical Center on August 21, 2022.

The kids just want their dad back.

Amber has been able to visit Austin in the hospital a few hours each day. Her kiddos join in on Facetime when she's there.

"They say he can hear us so I just, I talk to him when I go to visit, I tell him what the kids are doing, I tell him about our days, but it's hard," Burk said.

Our West Texas community is rallying around them, bringing meals and toys for the kids.

"We have a village. A village I didn't realize was so big. So many people that just really care and love and just want to make sure our family is well taken care of right now," Burk said.

The biggest takeaway Amber and her family have learned from this experience: Protect yourself.

"The last few things that he said to me before he was intubated was we messed up, so don't be us, don't be me FaceTiming with your kids so they can see their daddy. Protect yourself, protect your kids. Don't be scared. I think you should pray about it, do it, have peace and move on.